Aston Villa have been handed a boost in their pursuit of Harold Moukoudi this weekend, as he is frozen out at Le Havre for refusing to sign a new deal, as reported by French outlet L’Equip.
The 21-year-old was close to a deal at Villa this summer, even visiting the training centre and holding talks with Steve Bruce, but he ended up remaining with his own club and looking to further his development at home.
This season his stock has continued to rise and he’s become even more prominent, with the report suggesting Borussia Dortmund and Napoli are both in the hunt for his signature.
He’s refused to sign a long-term deal with Ligue 2 side Le Harve and their hierarchy have now instructed coach Oswald Tanchot to leave him out of the side until a deal is signed, or until he is sold this window.
That once again puts Villa in a good position to sign the player, but if they did who would benefit most, and who would lose out?
We look at one winner and one loser from a possible Villa swoop for Moukoudi.
Winner: Lovre Kalinic
The Villa defence hasn’t looked as solid as it might do in recent weeks, even after Dean Smith arrived, which puts a lot of pressure on new stopper Lovre Kalinic.
Orjan Nyland suffered badly from a lack of protection, so any new defender coming in will only be of benefit to the keeper.
It might take pressure off him from set pieces, or it might just be the belief in the players ahead of him, but Kalinic is a big winner if Moukoudi signs.
Loser: Tommy Elphick
Elphick was excellent for Hull on loan and has gone back to Villa to play regular games and cement his first team place.
He won’t be able to do that if they sign Moukoudi who would surely play alongside James Chester. That would undo all of the hard work Elphick has put in during the season as he slips back to the bench.