Aston Villa have thus far seen two bids rejected for Middlesbrough forward Morgan Rogers, with the Championship side apparently adamant that he won’t leave for less than his valuation. There has been a sense that this could become a saga as we approach deadline day on 1 February.
Villa intend to keep pushing for Rogers even in the face of Middlesbrough’s resistance, because Unai Emery is determined to land the player and make him the big signing of the January transfer window after the deal for Red Star Belgrade’s Kosta Nedeljkovic, who has returned to Serbia on loan for the remainder of the season.
Speaking after his side was thrashed 6-1 by Chelsea in the second leg of the Carabao Cup semifinal on Tuesday night, Boro manager Michael Carrick was tight-lipped on Rogers’ future, telling the press that “he’s our player for the minute”. Based on the latest update, though, that may not be the case for much longer.
Villa can now accelerate towards Rogers deal
According to Football Insider’s Pete O’Rourke, Villa could now sign Rogers for a fee between £10m and £12m. Middlesbrough wanted to ensure he was available for the trip to Stamford Bridge, but Emery’s side are now expected to “step up the negotiation process”.
Rogers’ former club Manchester City are due a “big sell-on clause”, and that’s part of the reason Boro have been so rigid, but Villa know how much it will take to get a deal done. The Englishman is expected to be the final signing of the window at Villa Park, barring any “significant outgoings” in the next week or so.
Rogers produces strong audition against Chelsea
While Rogers and Boro were on the end of a hiding in West London on Tuesday, he was one of the few players who could hold his head high as he left the field. He scored a consolation goal for the visitors in the final minutes of the match, picking up the ball on the left wing, dribbling infield, cutting inside Axel Disasi and then whipping the ball low into the far corner beyond Djordje Petrovic.
While he won’t have the chance to extend his tally in the final as he would have dreamed, Rogers is now in with a real shot of finishing as the competition’s top scorer after moving clear of Liverpool’s Cody Gakpo with his fifth strike of the competition. Gakpo and the Reds are in action against Fulham in the other semifinal on Wednesday night.
In a game where Middlesbrough recorded just 38% possession, Rogers worked tirelessly off the ball – he contested more ground duels (16) than anybody else in his team, and he also won two tackles. One journalist, James Benge, said he looked “Premier League ready” against Mauricio Pochettino’s men and called his goal “gorgeous”, while another, Simon Johnson, declared that Boro’s asking price had “just gone up” after he found the net.
One thing’s for sure – Tuesday’s game will only have strengthened Villa’s desire to get this deal done before time runs out.