Aston Villa manager Dean Smith was keen to sign Chelsea legend Gary Cahill this summer as he looked to add Premier League experience and defensive depth to his squad.
Both parties were ready for talks as the Bodymoor Heath academy graduate eyed a return since leaving in 2008.
Villa assistant manager and Cahill’s former Blues teammate John Terry also recommended the 33-year-old, but the Midland outfit signed Bjorn Engels and Ezri Konsa instead, and the Belgian has since proven to be an inspired addition within such a short time.
While Villa were open to meeting the two-year deal and £80,000 wages demands of the Premier League-winning centre-back, making him their highest earner, they opted against making a move having made the decision to lower the average age of the playing squad earlier in the summer, according to The Athletic.
Engels, 21 and Konsa, 24 cost a combined £20 million but earn significantly lower wages than what Villa might have ended up paying Cahill for at least two years.
Signing Joleon Lescott and Micah Richards when they were past their prime backfired for Villa, and Tom Heaton was the only exception this summer as the club decided signing the 33-year-old will come handy given his experience and knowledge of the demands of the Premier League.
Cahill ended up joining Crystal Palace, and is set to play against Villa this weekend.
While the former England international brings loads of experience to the table, it can be argued that the Villans’ decision to go for younger options was the best and smartest move, and both parties will look to prove the other wrong at Selhurst Park on Saturday.