Dean Smith and newly-promoted Aston Villa are chasing Cardiff City keeper Neil Etheridge, according to reports from Wales Online.
Etheridge, 29, excelled for Cardiff in the 2018/19 campaign despite the Bluebirds’ relegation from the Premier League, and interest from Villa and Smith will come as no surprise to Neil Warnock and owner Vincent Tan.
Cardiff are reported to have rejected an £8m advance, as they bid to retain the core of the squad that not only got Warnock’s side promoted, but who fought fiercely in their attempts to remain a Premier League side.
Whilst Villa do hold viable keeping options including Jed Steer, who made two crucial penalty saves in the play-off semi-final victory over West Bromwich Albion, Smith is aware this is a position in Villa’s squad that may require additional competition in order for the club to thrive upon returning to the English top-flight.
Under the ownership of Wes Edens and Nassef Sawiris, alongside the executive direction of Christian Purlow, Villa have outlined they intend to strongly compete in the 2019/2020 campaign, allowing eight players to depart following the expiration of their contracts alongside reaching a settlement agreement with the much-maligned Ross McCormack to depart B6.
A bid in excess of £10m may be enough to twist Cardiff’s hand in sanctioning the departure of Etheridge, whilst Villa remain active in the window having signed Jota from Birmingham City, alongside pursuing deals for Bournemouth’s Tyrone Mings and Chelsea’s Tammy Abraham; both loanees at the club in their promotion-winning campaign.