Aston Villa’s John McGinn stance and valuation as Manchester United links continue
The January transfer window is under three months away – and there is already an ongoing talking point at Villa Park.
Aston Villa will be able to buy and sell players again as they take stock at the half-way point of their Premier League campaign.
Speaking after Villa splashed the cash to the tune of over £130m in the summer window, Dean Smith admitted: “We have January if we need to and we have funds for that.”
While players have been linked with joining Villa, the rumour making the most noise at the moment is concerning a potential departure.
So what are the chances of the Scotland international making the move to Old Trafford anytime soon?
Here’s what we know about the speculation.
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Manchester United were said to be highly impressed with McGinn as he helped guide Villa to promotion last season.
It was reported in the summer that Old Trafford transfer chiefs are keen on the 25-year-old – and it appears they still are.
United are ready to back Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in January after their worst start to a campaign for three decades and have drawn up a transfer shortlist to work through.
According to ESPN, McGinn – who has scored three league goals so far this term, as well as an international hat-trick for Scotland – is one of the names on it and a potential move will be explored.
But United are aware they are likely to have to wait until the summer for Villa to even think about the prospect of selling, after a £50m price-tag was reportedly put on the former Hibernian player’s head.
Sir Alex Ferguson’s ‘recommendation’
It was suggested in the summer legendary United boss Sir Alex had recommended McGinn to his former employers.
And with nothing having materialised then, Ferguson has been backed to push Old Trafford decision-makers into signing his compatriot when they get chance again.
Bobby Jenks, the scout who helped bring the McGinn to Villa, believes the ex-manager, who still wields significant influence at the club, will be using his influence to encourage a move.
“He’s up there with the best-performing midfielders in the division,” Jenks told the Athletic. “Wait until he’s had a year at that level and then we can say more.
“What I do know is that Sir Alex Ferguson is wondering why Manchester United let a talented Scottish boy slip through. He’ll be keeping a close eye on him that’s for sure and if he continues the way he is, you can bet he’ll be telling his pals at United, too.”
Pundits and former players, meanwhile, have gone positively potty about the prospect of the transfer coming off.
Alan Brazil, the ex-United forward and talkSPORT presenter, said: “He’s top class for me. I love that he works his socks off and is busy all the time. He’s got a great engine.
“I’m gutted because I thought Celtic were getting him until something happened. But I’m pleased for him.
“Six weeks ago Manchester United were very interested in him. Without a doubt [he’s a good fit for United].
“McGinn would get the Old Trafford crowd going for a start, just with his energy and enthusiasm, and his ability.”
Noel Whelan told Football Insider : “When you watch Villa, McGinn is the best player every game. He is involved in everything and is a fantastic player.
“That is why Man United are looking at him for January. That’s what I’ve been told. They’re scouting him. I think Man United could do with someone like McGinn. He would be far better for them than someone like Juan Mata.”
What Smith has said
McGinn has carried superb form from the Championship into the Premier League and Smith said at the start of the month: “His levels have been right up there and he’s deservedly getting the accolades off everybody at the moment because his performances have just carried on from the Championship.
“His performances have been outstanding and just shows that the step up can be quite easy for some people.
“Not just that, thought, he’s also an inspiration for the other lads. His all-action style, the way he plays, the way he conducts himself, he’s a likeable guy in the dressing room – and our fans love him, too.”
What McGinn has said
McGinn was asked directly about the United rumour in August and admitted he laughed when he saw it.
“I had a little chuckle at it. I’m sure a lot of people did,” he told the Daily Record , also revealing his manager teased him about it.
“Certainly the gaffer and the players here had a bit of banter about it at my expense,” he added.
“It is up to me to go and prove it is justified. At that point my whole mindset was on Villa and being successful here.”
Having cost just £2.75m in 2018, McGinn must be one of Villa’s bargain signings of the century and his consistent form in claret and blue is testament to the scouting team who convinced their bosses to bring him in.
It wouldn’t be outlandish to suggest he’s probably worth about 20 times that fee now after just how easily he’s taken to Premier League football.
Villa know that the better he gets, the more a move to a club like United will get talked up but there is zero desire to cash in.
He is still young, and improving, and Villa were wise to tie him down to a new five-year contract ahead of the season.
If United come knocking in January they will be turned away and that is probably the case for next summer too unless an offer of epic proportion is put on the table.
As for McGinn, he is loving life at Villa, working under a manager who knows how to get the best out of him and coaching staff who are lifting his game every week on the training pitches at Bodymoor Heath.
He’s absolutely vital to the side and Villa will be hoping it remains that way for years to come.