As the week drew to a close, Aston Villa were heavily linked with a move for Stade Reims centre-half Bjorn Engels, and the speculation on the rumour mill certainly came from nowhere.
With the obvious questions aside about the number of players now in competition for the two spots in the heart of defence, the rumours certainly didn’t die down and French outlet L’Equipe gave a significant update earlier today and said that the 24-year-old Belgian had already left for Birmingham on Friday to undergo his medical and the expectation was that at some point tonight, the deal would be officially confirmed.
Said confirmation could come before this piece goes live, so I’ll have to be on my toes!
With most of Villa’s deals seeming to bypass the press, this one ticks that box as well and it’s believed he will make the switch for 10million Euros which is infinitely better value that Bristol City’s Adam Webster – although the presumption was Ezri Konsa was his alternative.
In any event, L’Equipe’s report quotes a joint statement from CEO Mathieu Lacour and President Jean-Pierre Caillot and although they don’t specifically reference Aston Villa, they confirm he’s off.
“We had a strong deal between us with Bjorn, whose wife is from Liverpool. He had told us of his deep desire to play one day across the Channel. So we agreed that, if and only if a Premier League club made a substantial bid at the end of their first season, we would let them go. We are not happy to lose such a player but we only kept our promise.”