The wind can blow many ways over the course of a Championship season, but right now it seems to be firmly behind Aston Villa.
A promotion charge in full-swing, Dean Smith’s side are firmly lodged in the playoff places with five games left to play.
The league Villa will be playing in next year remains uncertain, but one thing is for sure – new recruits will be needed in the summer.
As Smith seeks to create a squad in his own image, we thought we’d take a look at five central midfielders who could be heading for the West Midlands when the transfer window opens.
1) Will Vaulks - Rotherham
He tucked away Rotherham’s penalty on Wednesday night, but Will Vaulks is a player who has the potential to make a big difference at a major club next season – be that in the Championship, or the Premier League. A reliable ball-winner, the 25-year-old is also capable of dictating the play from his spot deep in the midfield.
2) Irfan Kahveci - Istanbul Basaksehir
Kahveci has been a critical part of Istanbul Basaksehir’s stunning season that sees them top of the Turkish Super Lig, and the 23-year-old could be a hot commodity come the summer. A Premier League-bound Aston Villa could be a prime suitor for the play-maker who is at home with the ball at his feet, constantly searching for defence-splitting balls.
3) Pablo Rosario - PSV Eindhoven
What a talent this lad is! Standing at 6 feet 2 inches, Rosario is an old-fashioned physical central midfielder, focused on winning the ball back and moving it on. Another strong signing for a Premier League side, Rosario could be the kind of addition Villa will be relying on to keep them up in the 2019/20 season.
4) Philipp Klement - Paderborn
Klement has been a fantastically consistent performer for the second-tier German side Paderborn this season, who signed from Mainz in the summer. The 26-year-old is a more experienced option, and is a serious threat from dead-ball situations. I doubt many other clubs will be looking at Klement, so perhaps a financially savvy option right here.
5) Benjamin Andre - Rennes
Another more experienced option, the 28-year-old Andre has been a large part of Rennes’ season in the centre of the park. A gritty ball-winner, I think the former Ajaccio man would be a superb accompaniment to Jack Grealish and John McGinn.