Scott Hogan isn’t the only Aston Villa player in Birmingham City to sign this summer – Alex Dicken


The path from Aston Villa to Birmingham City has been an increasingly popular one in recent years.

The blues have greatly benefited from the capture of marginal Villa players with Gary Gardner and Scott Hogan, the switches of St Andrew’s falling into the category of “good deals”.

Villa has not done as well as the players moving in the opposite direction, with Spanish winger Jota contributing one goal in the Premier League this season.

But we are not here to discuss the successes and failures of those who have already crossed the second city ditch.

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We will, however, present a case for a player who could prosper by becoming the next to make the short trip from Aston to Small Heath.

And he’s already taken up residence in St Andrew this season.

Callum O’Hare is a name to which very few Blues fans will have paid much attention, apart from the two times he left the bench to impress in FA Cup games with Coventry City earlier this year.

But O’Hare’s ties to St Andrew’s are much deeper than his two goals for Coventry at Tilton during their season-long pitch loss.

He is the nephew of Blues favorite Ian Clarkson, who rose through the ranks to represent his childhood club for five years and three decades.

“Congratulations Callum for marking the winner at St Andrew’s. It was time for Clarkson’s line to climb to Mecca, “said Clarkson, shortly after O’Hare scored the first goal in his loan with the Sky Blues.

O’Hare’s last appearance for Villa came in January 2019 and although he was included in Dean Smith’s preseason plans last summer, it is clear that he fell in pecking order in B6.

Recently, it was reported that Villa had made no progress with O’Hare regarding the extension of his contract, which expires at the end of this month.

And other reports now suggest that the 22-year-old playmaker should leave Villa and pursue a career elsewhere.

It’s a fact that O’Hare will have a lot of takers. It would not be surprising to see Coventry looking to sign it permanently if they are effectively promoted to the Championship.

But the Blues, who have successfully assembled a cluster of local talent into their first team, are likely to have more pulling power and could use a player from O’Hare’s family.

The Blues’ desire to adopt “a fresh and modern football philosophy” has led them to woo a certain type of attacking player in recent transfer windows.

Dan Crowley – also formerly of the Academy of Villa – Fran Villalba, Jefferson Montero, Jeremie Bela and Hogan are all tiny players who thrive in a style of football focused on speed and skill.

Villalba and Montero, for different reasons, did not work, but the others fit perfectly under Pep Clotet.

After lending Villalba, sending Montero back to Swansea and deciding to release Jacques Maghoma and Kerim Mrabti, the Blues will seek to strengthen their attack options when the summer window opens.

And O’Hare, whose style and stature are similar to those listed above, should be at the top of their shopping list.

It is a low-cost deal that could bring huge rewards to Birmingham City.


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