As a newly promoted side Aston Villa can expect to see themselves struggling to battle with the already established top flight clubs when it comes to recruiting during the summer transfer window.
Those already in the Premier League have the millions upon millions of pounds the television deals and sponsorship have to offer, leaving those coming up from the Championship facing a gulf in finances which needs to be bridged.
While the Villans were facing financial turmoil last summer, West Ham were spending big on the likes of Felipe Anderson and Andriy Yarmolenko – the two clubs like chalk and cheese in their fortunes – but now it looks as though the claret and blue pair could be battling it out against one another this year.
Italian publication Il Messaggero report that the Hammers and Villa are both chasing exit-bound Lazio and Croatia defensive midfielder Milan Badelj, the 30-year-old said to be set to leave the Serie A outfit after just a year at the club.
A 47-cap international, the midfield enforcer would be a welcome addition to either squad but to have him on board at Villa Park would send a serious message of intent to the rest of the division.
Fighting it out with West Ham is not an easy task for any side outside the top six, the Irons having shown their own ambitions in the last 12 months, but with the promise of regular playing time and the chance to prove himself in the English top flight – as well as blowing the Hammers away in terms of a transfer and contract offer – Villa might well be able to get him on board.
The fact they are even targeting Badelj shows the sort of aspirations Villa have for the upcoming season – now is the time for them to send a message to the rest of the Premier League.