Aston Villa are reportedly on the verge of dealing West Ham United a big Nikola Vlasic replacement blow.
When West Ham were unable to make Jesse Lingard’s move permanent last summer, David Moyes paid over £30 million to sign Vlasic instead.
And it is fair to say the move simply has not worked out.
So much so Moyes tried again to bring Lingard back to West Ham in January to no avail.
Aston Villa meanwhile brought in Barcelona flop Philippe Coutinho and the Brazilian hit the ground running.
Vlasic had failed to establish himself as a young player at Everton.
But West Ham gave him a second bite at the Premier League by signing him from CSKA Moscow.
Vlasic has barely had a look in, though, as he has failed to show anything of note when handed a chance in the West Ham team by Moyes.
Given West Ham’s seriously shallow squad and marathon season of 55 games, Vlasic’s lack of action is damning.
So it was perhaps no surprise to see West Ham linked with a summer move for Coutinho – who has impressed in the same position during his Aston Villa loan.
Villa have an option to make Coutinho’s move permanent.
But reports back in February (Claret and Hugh and Give Me Sport) claimed there is also real interest from West Ham and another Premier League clubs in signing Coutinho when the summer transfer window opens next month.
Whether Moyes will continue to give Vlasic time or cut his losses on the Croatian remains to be seen.
But if West Ham were weighing up a move for Coutinho as a Vlasic alternative, it seems there is some bad news for Moyes.
Because Aston Villa are on the verge of dealing West Ham a big Vlasic replacement blow by sealing a permanent move for Coutinho imminently.
The likes of The Daily Mail are reporting that a cut-price deal is on the verge of being done between Aston Villa and Barca for the Brazilian playmaker.
So it seems Moyes may have to look elsewhere – and perhaps even revisit a move for Lingard on a free transfer.
The Scot has a big rebuild on his hands at West Ham this summer.
And he will be only too aware that the likes of Villa under Steven Gerrard and other clubs such as Newcastle will only improve next season.
In fairness to Vlasic, there is a genuine argument that Moyes has been playing him out of position.
Whatever happens there is no way West Ham can go into next term with blind hope that the penny will suddenly drop for Vlasic.
If he is kept on then another quality playmaker is still needed regardless.