According to a recent report by Sky Sports, Aston Villa manager Dean Smith is looking to raid former club Brentford in January for several players including Josh McEachran, a midfielder once compared with Luka Modric and one who would be perfect for Derby County

The former Chelsea ace came through the youth ranks at Stamford Bridge and played alongside Frank Lampard, therefore the current Derby County manager must know all about his undoubted quality.

The 25-year-old was once likened to Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric by former Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas, who told Goal at the time that McEachran could become among the finest midfielders in Europe.

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Ultimately, McEachran left Stamford Bridge to join Brentford in 2015, though he has since established himself as one of the best ball-playing midfielders in the Championship with an average 84.6% pass-accuracy rate (Whoscored).

Derby, while in the hunt for promotion to the Premier League, know that they are in for a big transition over the next six months with several players out of contract in the summer.

Midfielders Bradley Johnson, Tom Huddlestone, Craig Bryson, Joe Ledley and Jacob Butterfield are all ageing and expecting to leave, while on-loan midfielders Harry Wilson and Mason Mount will return to their parent clubs.

The Rams will be left with Duane Holmes and George Evans as the only two senior midfielders on the books, therefore Lampard must start looking now for a long-term solution and McEachran ticks all the boxes.

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His Brentford deal expires at the end of the season therefore the Bees could be left in a situation where they would be better off selling him on the cheap now rather than risk losing him for nothing in the summer.

McEachran, a regular at Griffin Park with 18 Championship starts this term, would stand a better chance of becoming a key player at Pride Park rather than at Villa where competition for places is so fierce.

Capable of playing in a holding role or as a linking midfielder, his playing style is ideal for this Derby side who Lampard seems to be moulding on the 4-3-3 Chelsea team during Jose Mourinho’s early years.

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