Aston Villa manager Steve Bruce claims the club are ready to "break the bank" in an attempt to retain the services of popular midfield loanee Josh Onomah, although appears to be aware that Tottenham Hotspur are unlikely to want to sell such an obvious young talent.
After helping England to win the Under-20 World Cup over the summer, Spurs academy graduate Onomah was dispatched for his maiden season-long loan stint at Villa Park and certainly appears to have taken the rigours of Championship football in his stride.
The 20-year-old has made 13 appearances for the Villains to date, scoring twice against Bristol City and Burton Albion and further staking his claim for a regular starting berth with an influential man-of-the-match performance during the 2-1 win over Fulham on Saturday (21 October).
Bruce was effusive in his praise of Onomah after that latter showing in the West Midlands and would evidently like to keep the player at Villa on a permanent basis.
"Josh Onomah was terrific today," he told reporters, per the Evening Standard. "We'll try to break the bank for him! But we know Spurs have got a very good player there."
The chances of any full-time agreement seem remote at best, with Onomah having featured 32 times in two seasons for Tottenham since being handed his senior debut by Mauricio Pochettino during an FA Cup tie against Burnley back in January 2015.
The Enfield native made 12 appearances for his parent club last term, although all but three of those came as a substitute.
Pochettino is known for his commitment to developing young players and the fact that Onomah, who still had three years left to run on his previous deal, was handed a new four-year contract before joining Villa shows that he still has a future under the Argentine.
Pochettino previously claimed that he did not want to see either Onomah or centre-back Cameron Carter-Vickers leave on loan and in August was forced to deny that he had changed his approach after allowing them to join Villa and Sheffield United respectively. He also pointed to Harry Winks as an example for the pair to follow.
"No. Not a change," Pochettino said. "I think after two years, nearly two and half, of working with Josh and Cameron, if they cannot reach the starting eleven regularly in the team, this season was the last opportunity...or the opportunity now for them to try to move and try to play.
"If they don't achieve now is the moment to give the possibility to move and play and learn and maybe then to come back and now be ready to play regularly in the first team."