Aston Villa midfielder John McGinn has revealed he was “very close” to a deadline day move to Nottingham Forest the summer before he arrived at Villa Park.
McGinn left Hibs in August 2018 to join Villa, signing for a reported fee of £2.75 million.
That now looks like a masterstroke of a signing by the Midlands club as the Scottish midfielder has played a key role in first the club’s promotion push and then establishing them as a Premier League side.
In 2019, Manchester United were linked with a £50 million move for McGinn but he remains a Villa player and penned a new five-and-a-half-year deal back in January.
It could’ve all be different for the 26-year-old, however, as he nearly joined City Ground a year before he made the switch to Villa Park.
Speaking on The Big Interview with Graham Hunter, McGinn addressed his Forest near-miss.
“The summer before (joining Aston Villa), I was very close to going to Nottingham Forest on deadline day,” explained the Scotland international.
“Ironically it was Mark Warburton who was in charge at the time. But on deadline day it was tough because you have to balance when this opportunity was coming around. I was loving my time at Hibs, but I wanted to test myself at the higher level.
“Full credit to my agent at the time, it would have been easy for him to do what I was being pressurised by Forest to do and push through the move, but it’s not in my nature, it’s not what I wanted to do and he was fully on-board with that.”
In all, McGinn has made more than 100 appearances for Villa since his arrival in 2018 – scoring 12 times and adding 19 assists.
The midfielder has been a key man for Dean Smith’s side this season, missing just two Premier League games as his side battle for a place in the top half of the table.
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This will likely make difficult reading for Forest fans, who it seems missed out on signing McGinn before he joined Villa.
The Scottish midfielder has proven an absolute bargain at less than £3 million and been a key player in the club’s rise from the Championship to the Premier League and, perhaps this season, a top half finish.
Considering where the two clubs are now, you’ve got to think he will be pretty happy with his decision.