Aston Villa boosted in bid to sign coveted League One youngster

It must feel like a ‘new day’ at Aston Villa following captain Fabian Delph’s shock decision to turn down an £8m move to Manchester City, allegedly after Etihad flops Scott Sinclair and Micah Richards had a word in the six-cap England man’s ear.

Villa boss Tim Sherwood still seems highly likely to lose £30m-plus striker Christian Benteke, with Manchester United thought to have joined Liverpool in the race for the burly Belgian’s signature, but keeping Delph while adding Sinclair, Richards and Senegalese holding-midfielder Idrissa Gueye should soften the blow significantly.

Sherwood received another transfer boost over the weekend, according to plentiful reports, as young right-back target Mason Holgate turned down a new deal at Barnsley following a breakthrough campaign in League One.

Holgate, who has come through the same Oakwell Academy as Everton and England defender John Stones, started 18 third-tier fixtures for the Tykes last term, despite only making his first-team team debut against home-town club Doncaster at the start of December.

The 18-year-old bagged his first Barnsley goal in their last game of the campaign, a 5-0 romp at home to Rochdale, capping an impressive run in the team and alerting scouts at Villa, Arsenal and Tottenham.

According to local paper the Barnsley Chronicle, the Midlands outfit are ready to swoop with a £1m bid for Holgate, who only has one year to run on his contract in South Yorkshire.

The Birmingham Mail agrees, repeating news of the upcoming bid and carrying these quotes from Oakwell chief-executive Ben Mansford:

“Mason has rejected our offer of a new contract which is on parity with the contracts signed by some of our best young players in recent years.

“He is a very young boy with great potential. We feel it is right for him to stay at Barnsley but we need him to feel the same.”

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Iain Houten

Iain has been contributing pieces to various websites on an array of subjects, including sports, politics and art, for over four years. Despite blue being his favourite colour, the teams he supports all wear red.