The 72

Aston Villa have joined the race for Jamaican prodigy Alex Marshall, according to Birmingham Live

New boss Dean Smith has received assurances that transfer funds will be made available to him in January and has made Marshall one of his targets.

The 20-year-old forward represents Cavalier of the Jamaican National Premier League and has reportedly caught the attention of Liverpool, West Ham United, Tottenham Hotstpur and Leicester City.

He broke into Jamaica’s senior side in 2017 and his form has alerted some of England’s most successful clubs. Marshall has already been watched by scouts from some of the circling clubs and Villa could face a battle if they are to secure the forward’s services.

Smith swapped Brenford for Villa last week, replacing Steve Bruce as Villains boss. He has inherited a side that have under-performed this season and currently occupy 15th place in the Championship table.

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He will be under pressure to reverse the club’s fortunes but many have faith in the 47-year-old, including former Villa goalkeeper Mark Bosnich. The Australian has even claimed that promotion remains a possibility for his former employers:

“I think it’s a very good appointment.

“He’s got experience in the Championship. He’s not the big name up in lights in terms of some of the people who were mentioned, but I think that’s exactly what they need at this moment in time. I think they’re still suffering a hangover from losing that play-off game last season – they’ve just got to put that behind them.

“Yes, Aston Villa should be in the Premier League, but the bottom line is they’re not.

“They had years and years of warning that they were going to be relegated, and we spoke about continually on this show. But now it’s a clean sheet with the new manager and his assistant.

“John Terry knows the club from being there last season and Dean Smith will have his ideas – they just need to get promoted. Things aren’t going their way, but if you look at the table they’re still only four points off the play-off places.

“They weren’t far off last season, so there’s no reason why they can’t do it this season – there’s still a long way to go.”

Smith will face his first test next Saturday as Swansea City visit the Midlands and the current crop of players will be keen to impress as the manager begins to target new signings.

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I am an 18-year-old aspiring journalist who has worked for Bradford (Park Avenue) AFC and the Non-League Paper. I have been writing for The72 since September 2018. Get in touch via Twitter or e-mail: @Tom_C_6 / [email protected]