Arsenal give Villa Berge chance
Arsenal are reportedly balking at Sheffield United’s demands for Norwegian midfielder Sander Berge.
Berge, 23, only joined the Blades 18 months ago from Belgian club Genk but isn’t expected to start the season in the Championship following their relegation.
Numerous Premier League clubs have already been linked with Berge, most notably Arsenal – though Aston Villa are also reportedly interested.
Backed by billionaire owners Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens, Villa are already having an impressive transfer window with the arrivals of £33million Emiliano Buendia and Ashley Young.
Dean Smith is still keen to add attacking talent to his squad but the prospect of signing another midfielder cannot be ruled out either.
Villa have already beaten Arsenal to Buendia and they could also challenge the Gunners for Berge. The Sheffield Star reports that Arsenal have thus far been unwilling to meet the Blades’ £35million price tag for the midfielder.
The report adds that Arsenal believe United are demanding too much for Berge, who only made 15 appearances in the Premier League last season due to injury.
Incredibly, Sheffield United only collected one point – a 1-1 draw with Fulham – from a possible 45 when Berge played in 2020/21.
Despite that wretched record the midfielder earned praise for his performances and could be a good option if Smith chooses to add to his midfield.
Whether Arsenal, Villa or indeed any other Premier League club will be happy to pay £35million for Berge remains to seen, but the Blades are apparently sticking to their guns and refusing to lower their asking price.
City and United will be ‘looking’ for Grealish signs
Manchester City and Manchester United will be ‘looking’ for Jack Grealish to prove he is ready for a transfer this summer.
That’s according to former Spain midfielder Cesc Fabregas amid continued speculation linking the Aston Villa talisman with the two Manchester clubs.
Having enjoyed a fabulous season with Villa – albeit an injury-disrupted one following a three-month absence – big things are expected of the 25-year-old this summer.
However, it has been a frustrating start to the tournament for Grealish, who has been a substitute for the opening two games against Croatia and Scotland.
Grealish came off the bench in the second half against Scotland, but pressure is growing on Gareth Southgate to play him from the start against the Czech Republic on Tuesday.
Fabregas is a fan of Grealish and put the Villa man in the XI when he was asked to name his England side at the start of the tournament.
In his column for the Daily Telegraph, the former Barcelona, Chelsea and Arsenal wrote: “In the specific case of Grealish, this has been his first big season where everyone outside Aston Villa talks about him.
“I don’t know what his future will be, but there could potentially be a big move for him, so he needs to show he is ready for any situation.
“If he did move to a Manchester City or Manchester United, nobody will guarantee that Jack Grealish will start every single game and these kinds of clubs will be looking to see that he is ready to compete.
“It’s similar for [Jadon] Sancho and these players, like him and Grealish, can have very important tournaments for England, even if it is off the bench to start with.”
Mings admits ‘hardest bit’ of Euros bow
Aston Villa defender Tyrone Mings has revealed the trouble he had controlling his emotions before his tournament debut with England.
Mings has been the beneficiary of a pre-tournament injury to Harry Maguire with Gareth Southgate starting the centre-back in each of England’s opening two Euro 2020 fixtures.
Mings’ standing in Southgate’s plans is just rewards for another impressive season at Villa Park in which he helped his team keep 15 Premier League clean sheets.
But it’s been a long road to the top for Mings, who was playing non-league with Chippenham Town before signing for EFL side Ipswich in 2012.
He also had to overcome serious injuries before finding a home at Villa in 2019, first helping the club to promotion before becoming a stalwart of Dean Smith’s starting XI in the top flight.
It’s little surprise that Mings’ selection in the opening Euros fixture with Croatia was met with immense pride by those who have stood alongside him on his journey.
“It was crazy,” Mings explained. “I’ve had some good times at Wembley, with the play-off final, and it’s a place my family now have fond memories of and hopefully we’ll have some more throughout this tournament.
“In the week leading up to the game it was so hard to control my emotions because I had family sending me videos of good luck messages,
going over old pictures of my sisters standing on the side of the pitch watching me when I was a kid, and then obviously the occasion for them was just amazing.
“Trying to control my emotions going into the game was probably the hardest bit. Going to the game and into the stadium is what we do every week, so that’s the easy part.”