Last season, there was an intriguing situation with then Le Havre defender Harold Moukoudi, who decided to run down his contract to get a move away from the Ligue 2 side.
That led to a dispute with the club, who didn’t play him for the rest of the season, eventually letting him leave on a free.
During that time, Aston Villa were heavily linked with the young centre-back, and it came out the player had even travelled to Birmingham to visit the club’s infrastructures.
However, instead of moving to Villa Park, Moukoudi made the switch to Saint-Étienne, where he would have been used in parternship with Arsenal loanee William Saliba had he not picked up an early injury.
Speaking to Le Progrès, the defender recalled the situation with Aston Villa and explained his decision to turn down the chance to move to what is now a Premier League club.
He said: “A move to England? Eventually. Villa? I even spoke to the manager (Steve Bruce at the time). I wanted to stay in France to get better. I want to have a structured career and not burn a step. At my age (21), what’s most important is to play, learn and take pleasure from it.
“You learn from playing. For now, I’m just watching the Premier League as a fan. We’ll see after that. For now, I’m just focused on Saint-Étienne”.
It would be fair to say Moukoudi would have likely come in at Villa Park to replace the departing Axel Tuanzebe, who returned to Manchester United from his loan, but that wasn’t to be.
Instead, Villa spent a chunk of money securing the services of both other loanees, Kortney Hause and Tyrone Mings, while also buying Björn Engels from Stade de Reims and Ezri Konsa from Brentford.
As for Moukoudi, perhaps he’ll get another chance to get his dream move to the Premier League in the next few years.