Aston Villa pushing to complete deal for £21.6m international star

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Aston Villa could be dark horses in the Premier League this term.

Last season was decent for Dean Smith's side as the newly-promoted side were able to avoid the drop.

Villa were tipped to struggle after returning to the top flight but managed to keep their heads above water with a last-gasp escape from the danger zone.

The focus last summer was on bringing a large quantity of players into the club who could help them to adapt to life at the higher level.

This time around, it's clear that the only focus is on bringing in quality.

Villa have spent £74million so far this summer on four very impressive signings.

Those players are Matty Cash, Ollie Watkins, Emiliano Martinez and Bertrand Traore who joined from Nottingham Forest, Brentford, Arsenal and Lyon respectively.

While those deals will undoubtedly improve the team, there's still plenty of room to strengthen.

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One position that Smith is looking to improve is in central midfield.

Several players have already been linked with a move, including Ruben Loftus-Cheek.

The Chelsea midfielder looks set to be available in the final week of the transfer window after falling way down the pecking order at Stamford Bridge.

According to the Daily Mail, Aston Villa are determined to bring in the England international on a loan deal for the duration of the season.

However Smith faces competition for Loftus-Cheek's signature with Southampton and West Ham United also keen on a deal.

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If Villa can't complete a move, they may turn their attention to Ross Barkley.

Rules stipulate that a team can have no more than one player on loan from a particular club in the Premier League, meaning that Villa would only be able to bring in one or the other.

It seems that Loftus-Cheek would be the priority, but it remains to be seen whether a breakthrough can be made.

GIVEMESPORT'S Phil Spencer says...

Ruben Loftus-Cheek would be a great signing for Aston Villa.

First team opportunities are going to be particularly hard to come by with Chelsea this season and that's why he needs to move on.

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At 24 he needs to playing regular first team football - and as we know he's more than capable of doing that in the Premier League.

Loftus-Cheek would certainly fit in to Dean Smith's side and I could see him being a real success for them.

Valued at £21.6million by Transfermarkt, the England international is a player of huge quality and so his signing would be something of a coup.

A permanent deal would be ideal, however if they are unable to afford him then a loan switch with a view to a longer term arrangement would be seen as the ideal way to cap off a wonderful summer in the transfer market.

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