Has Aston Villa lodging £12m bid for 26-year-old just become more likely?

Aston Villa reportedly plan to target Nottingham Forest’s Joe Lolley should they lose Jack Grealish in the summer.

While Dean Smith would have been focused on his Aston Villa side bagging an important win that keeps their play-off hopes alive, there may have been one Nottingham Forest player that he also wanted to pay close attention to when the two teams met on Wednesday.

Martin O’Neill’s side included a number of dangerous players, but the one who, on paper, had the potential to do the most damage was Joe Lolley after an outstanding campaign at the City Ground.

And Smith apparently knows how influential Lolley can be, as The Sun reported last month that the £12 million-rated attacking midfielder is the player that Villa plan to target this summer should they lose Jack Grealish.

And following their 3-1 win against Forest, it surely seems more than likely that Smith will be even more determined to land Lolley – even if Grealish remains within his ranks next season.

The 26-year-old – who provided the assist for Forest’s goal – looked bright throughout the game, providing glimpses of his quality on a disappointing night for O’Neill’s men.

He now has nine assists for the campaign in the Championship as well as eight goals.

Tammy Abraham is the only Villa player to have had a direct hand in more goals this season.

And if Villa can finish the campaign in a position that opens the door for them to make a move for Lolley, then his performance against the club on Wednesday should certainly tempt Smith to make landing his signature a priority when the window opens.

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