Bournemouth to hijack Aston Villa bid for Championship hot shot

Newly-promoted AFC Bournemouth could be poised to gazump new top flight rivals Aston Villa in the pursuit of Bakary Sako.

The Wolves hot shot has turned down lucrative moves to Turkey and Russia, insisting he wants to prove his worth in the English top flight.

Villa had been in pole position to land the Mali international but, with the Cherries reportedly willing to meet the free agent’s £80,000 per-week wage demands, that could change.

Bournemouth had been focusing their attention on former loan star and current St Etienne winger Max Gradel but after being frustrated in their attempts to lure the ex-Leeds man back to England manager Eddie Howe is now keen on his former Les Verts team-mate.

Sako, 27, is believed to be on the hunt for a four-year deal and after being named in the PFA Championship Team of the Year last season when finishing joint-top scorer at Molineux the wing wizard will not be short of potential suitors.

Howe has not been afraid to splash the cash as he looks to bolster his squad this summer with £8m Tyrone Mings and £40,000-per-week Sylvain Distin among the new arrivals.

The tussle for Sako may not be the only time Bournemouth and Villa go head-to-head this summer either, with Tim Sherwood reportedly eyeing up Cherries strike ace Callum Wilson as a potential Christian Benteke replacement.

Howe will be reluctant to let the former Coventry ace go at this late stage of the summer but should he opt to move to Villa Park the cash windfall and the arrival of Sako, who netted 16 goals for Wolves last year, would certainly soften the blow.

Bournemouth will open their Premier League campaign by hosting Villa on the opening day of the season and as the 3/1 favourite to be the first game highlighted by Match of the Day it looks set to be a thrilling encounter come what may.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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James Curtis

After studying for a degree in journalism and gaining his NCTJ, James contributed to a wide range of papers, online publications and broadcasters including the South London Press, Press Association and Sky Sports News before joining the Ladbrokes News team.