The potential Aston Villa transfer that raises £15m question for Newcastle United

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Matt Targett is set to leave Aston Villa this summer - whether that be to join Newcastle United or another team.

Aston Villa are reportedly eyeing a move for FC Nantes left-back Quentin Merlin, a swoop that could push Matt Targett closer to the Villa Park exit door.

Steven Gerrard has wasted no time in strengthening his squad ahead of next season with the signings of Philippe Coutinho, Boubacar Kamara and Diego Carlos.

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And their reported pursuit of Merlin strongly suggests Gerrard is preparing to part ways with Targett this summer following his successful loan spell at Newcastle United.

The 26-year-old informed Gerrard in January of his intention to seek regular first-team football rather than play second fiddle to Lucas Digne, a £26million signing from Everton.

Matt Targett spent the second half of last season on loan at Newcastle United from Aston Villa. Matt Targett spent the second half of last season on loan at Newcastle United from Aston Villa.
Matt Targett spent the second half of last season on loan at Newcastle United from Aston Villa. | Getty Images

Eddie Howe wasted no time in snapping up Targett, who joined on deadline day along with central defender Dan Burn from Brighton and Hove Albion.

In many ways, the former Southampton youngster’s loan spell on Tyneside couldn’t have gone any better.

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He played a key role in the side that went from being deep in Premier League relegation trouble to one that ended the campaign in 11th with their highest points total (49) in eight years.

Targett played every minute of the 16 games he was available for. Certainly, many supporters have been left hoping this isn’t the last they’ll see of Targett in a black and white shirt.

What Matt Targett has said about his future

The player himself has publicly expressed a desire to stay at St James’ Park. When asked about his future, Targett responded: “I think everyone knows what I want.”

He added: “I said a few weeks ago, since I’ve been here, the fans have been incredible, They’ve welcomed me. I’ve really enjoyed my time here so we’ll see.

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“Everyone has worked so hard. The manager has made a massive difference. The players have bought into that and added quality in January, which has given everyone a lift.

“I’ve loved every single minute of it. It’s been an incredible place to play my football.”

Despite talk of a £15m purchase option, United are yet to commit to a permanent deal for Targett, much to the surprise of fans.

However, if Villa’s interest in Merlin is anything to go by, then it is further evidence that Targett will inevitably depart, whether that be to join Newcastle or another top-flight side.

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Targett is understood to be attracting interest from Fulham, where he also enjoyed a loan spell in 2018.

Clearly, Howe still has a decision to make, with full-backs Renan Lodi of Atletico Madrid and Bologna’s Aaron Hickey also linked in recent weeks.

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