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QPR reveal Eberechi Eze price as Aston Villa linked with big-money transfer for defender

Aston Villa transfer digest – A rundown of the hottest transfer stories involving Aston Villa

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Friendly with a familiar face

Aston Villa will be back in match action for the first time in a little over four weeks when they face off against Championship side Bristol City.

The behind-closed-doors friendly will see Dean Smith pit his wits against friend and his former Walsall player Dean Holden who, just a fortnight ago, replaced Lee Johnson at Ashton Gate.

Holden, 40, was coaxed into coaching by Villa’s manager during their time together at the Banks’s Stadium between 2012 and 2014, with the then right-back pegging up his boots before joining Oldham. The pair have remained close pals away from the pitch, too.

As for Villa, the Bristol City test will be the club’s first pre-season friendly ahead of the 2020/21 campaign. The squad have spent the past week down at their south-Wales training camp, which has included the usual faces, a new face in Craig Shakespeare and youngsters such as Jaden Philogene-Bidace, Carney Chukwuemeka, Mungo Bridge, the Ramsey brothers – Jacob and Aaron – and Kaine Kesler Hayden.

The game against the Championship promotion hopefuls will be played behind-closed-doors with strict Covid-19 restrictions in place as per government advice. Our colleagues at Bristol Live know the day and kick-off time but will not be publishing details to help maintain safety protocols.

A left-footed centre-back

Aston Villa have joined the race to sign Sampdoria’s African centre-back Omar Colley, according to a report in an Italian newspaper today.

Genoa-based Il Secolo XIX cite Villa being one of three Premier League clubs interesting in taking the 27-year-old who, last term, started 30 times in Serie A.

The report claims Claudio Ranieri’s side are holding out for around £18 million for the defender, with La Samp looking to make a tidy profit after signing Colley from Racing Club Genk for £7.2 million back in 2018.

Colley, meanwhile, who has 12 caps for The Gambia, is well-known to Villa striker Mbwana Ally Samatta with the pair travelling to Mecca together two years ago for an Islamic pilgirimage.

The Sampdoria man was a mainstay last season with the Italian club finishing seven points above the relegation places. Colley is a left-footed centre-back and, in that sense, is very similar to both Tyrone Mings and Kortney Hause. Villa,…

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