Burnley winger Dwight McNeil has been linked with a move to Aston Villa ahead of the summer transfer window.
Released by Manchester United at the age of 14, Dwight McNeil, 21, was given a chance by Burnley in 2014—the year when the club had secured promotion to the Premier League. After working really hard in Burnley’s youth ranks, he earned himself a professional contract back in April 2018.
Since his breakthrough campaign in 2018/19 at Turf Moor, the winger has established himself as a first-team regular under manager Sean Dyche. In no time he has gone onto make over 100 appearances across all competitions for the Clarets. McNeil featured in every single Premier League game last season, netting two goals. With two goals and five assists in 31 league outings this term, the speedy wide-man has gone from strength to strength at Burnley.
The England under-21 international, who committed his future at the club in October by signing a new contract until 2024, has been one of the Clarets’ best players this season. The 21-year-old’s performances have seen him catch the eye of Aston Villa, who are themselves enjoying a fine campaign in the Premier League after flirting with relegation in 2019/20.
The Villans are 11th in the standings with 45 points and look to end the season comfortably in mid-table. They have won just once in their last five games that should concern Dean Smith. Nevertheless, Smith would be happy with how his team has performed, particularly after beating the drop on the final day of last season.
Aston Villa have struggled to create and score goals in Jack Grealish’s absence
Having conceded 37 goals in 32 games, Smith must prioritise addressing the problems in his backline in the summer transfer window. In addition to that, he must also look to add more quality and depth to his attack.
Jack Grealish is Villa’s star man and possesses the ability to turn games on its head single-handedly. However, he has missed 10 games with a shin injury, with Smith’s side registering just two victories without their mercurial skipper. The Villans haven’t been as productive in Grealish’s absence, scoring just 10 goals in as many games. Thus, Smith must try to ease the workload off his skipper’s shoulders by signing a quality winger.
In Anwar El Ghazi, Mahmoud Trezeguet and Bertrand Traore, the Villa boss has some exciting wide players in his squad. Even though they have all performed well in patches this campaign, Villa need more quality and depth in wide areas to go one step further under Smith, particularly with Trezeguet likely to miss the start of the next campaign following a nasty knee injury he suffered against Liverpool at Anfield.
Dwight McNeil could be a top buy for the Villans
In that regard, Dwight McNeil has all the required qualities that make him a smart fit at Villa Park.
McNeil is one of the exciting young players in the Premier League and has done enough at Burnley to suggest that the stage looks set for him to join a bigger club. A skillful and pacey winger, the Englishman has impressed with his work rate, knack for taking on defenders and eye for goals, as well as invention and crossing ability from the wide areas of the pitch to set up goals. He would improve Villa’s options in wide areas, whilst adding much-needed depth to the squad.
The 21-year-old is a really talented player who could hone his skills by working under a manager like Smith. All in all, Aston Villa’s links with McNeil certainly makes a lot of sense, and this looks like a move that could pay off substantially for the Midlands club moving forward.