Aston Villa face competition for Championship ace

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Aston Villa certainly mean business this summer.

After securing promotion from the Championship it always seemed like a tough ask to consolidate their place in the top tier of English football.

After spending a substantial sum last summer, Dean Smith was able to just exactly that by ensuring that the club's head stayed above water when the prolonged season finally came to an end.

Their safety was confirmed just minutes from the end of the campaign - something that left many at Villa Park feeling that avoiding relegation was much too close for comfort.

That's why they have really kicked on this time around.

Villa have spent over £70million on transfers this summer as they look to add quality over quantity to their ranks.

They've certainly managed this with the additions of Matty Cash, Ollie Watkins, Emiliano Martinez and Bertrand Traore.

But it seems that Aston Villa aren't done yet.

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Smith is determined to keep adding to his playing squad and reports last week suggested that a move to sign Niclas Eliasson was on the cards.

However a fresh update has claimed that they now face an uphill battle to get a deal done.

The Scottish Sun have reported that Celtic are now in the race for the Bristol City man.

The 24-year-old is said to have fallen out of favour at Ashton Gate following the dismissal of Lee Johnson as the club's head coach.

Eliasson is out of contract next summer which suggests that he could be allowed to leave the club before the end of the transfer window.

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Once described as 'very special' by Johnson, the left-sided player was watched by Celtic's head of recruitment, Gary Penrice last week, suggesting that they could be eyeing up a move.

What that means for Villa's pursuit remains to be seen, but they may have to move quickly to get a deal done.

GIVEMESPORT'S Phil Spencer says...

It could be a busy week for Aston Villa.

Despite already making some exciting signings this summer, Dean Smith will be looking out for more.

Niclas Eliasson is one of the top left-sided players in the Championship - something that Smith will be very aware of having spent time in the league with Brentford.

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With the 24-year-old out of contract next summer there could be a cut-price deal in the offing for any side who is looking to do a deal - particularly given the fact that he's currently out of favour.

Whether Villa make their interest concrete is up for the debate, however.

Celtic are determined to sign a left-back before the transfer window closes and so that means that they probably have the edge.

But as we've seen before anything can happen in the closing stages of the transfer window.

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