If the latest reports are to be believed, Aston Villa are seriously considering to sign Burton Albion midfielder Jackson Irvine in the summer transfer window in order to come back stronger next season in the Championship and launch a serious assault for clinching a promotion spot.
The Villans, despite splashing truckloads of cash to bolster their arsenal of late, have succumbed more often than not and have withered on every frontier. It goes without saying that Steve Bruce has failed to derive the best out of what he had at his disposal last season and a 13th place finish was way below where they should have finished.
Getting players with decent experience in the English second division would hold paramount importance and thus, targeting around Irvine makes perfect sense. Under the tutelage of Nigel Clough, the 24-year-old thrived and was one of the silver linings in an otherwise problematic season for the Brewers.
Irvine arrived in the UK in 2010 and was one of the blossoming properties which the Scottish giants, Celtic, had in their youth academy. But owing to his failure to find a footing for himself under Neil Lennon and Ronny Deila, he moved out on loan spells to Kilmarnock and Ross County, and the latter eventually bagged him on a permanent deal where he impressed in patches.
However, Clough lured him to the Pirelli Stadium last summer for a club record fee of £250,000 and ever since his move, the Australian international has redeemed the best in himself. Irvine banged 10 goals in 42 appearances for the Championship outfit and also registered 2.2 tackles, 1.8 interceptions, 1.9 clearances and 0.3 blocks per game on an average and inked his name in the good books of the football fraternity.
Irvine’s presence at the centre of the park for Burton was a sight to behold. Despite having started last term as a holding midfielder, Clough eventually allowed him to play in an advanced role in the midfield and this enabled him to launch forward and do the damage to the opposition sides with his goals and creativity in the final third.
Predominantly a central midfielder who can be engineered as a central attacking midfielder as well as a right-back, Irvine has shown his calibre and boasts of traits such as his clinical finishing abilities, tendency to keep looking for goals, is superb in the air and contributes adequately as far as catering to the defensive aspects are concerned. Bruce is keen to beef up the quality of his midfield and arguably, he is going in the right direction.
Statistics Credits: WhoScored