Twelve months ago, Patrick Bamford was on the top of the Football League world. Voted Player of the Year of England's second tier (ahead of current England darling Dele Alli), the former Forest youth product looked to be going from strength to strength. Having conquered League One and the Championship over the previous seasons in a series of loans, the Premier League was his next target. Thirteen appearances for two top tier teams later, we can safely say things did not work as expected, planned, or hoped for.
So after failed half-season loan-moves to Crystal Palace and Norwich City, 22-year-old Bamford faces a most crucial summer. One of his options will be to step back down a level, either on loan or in a permanent transfer, and look to reestablish his goalscoring credentials. Unsurprisingly, two managers with Chelsea connections have already popped up in the rumor mill as possible takers.
As per the Mirror's live transfer (rumor) tracker, Bamford "could be" Roberto Di Matteo's first signing as new Aston Villa boss. Given Villa's incredibly underwhelming strikeforce, and a possible exodus of anyone left on the team with an ounce of Premier League talent, this could very well be a wonderful opportunity for the Chelsea kid. With two years left on his Chelsea contract, presumably we would be looking to loan him one last time.
That said, if Newcastle were to come in with a £10m offer, as claimed by the local Chronicle, surely we would consider a sale. With Aleksandar Mitrovic widely expected to leave this summer, Newcastle are on a "striker hunt" and apparently Bamford is one of the names considered, especially if the club balks at the £15m buyout clause of Championship second leading scorer Ross McCormack.