EUROPEAN FOOTBALL

Aston Villa try to get a new midfielder

Aston Villa

Aston Villa and their remarkable resurgence under Unai Emery continues to make headlines, as the club looks set to bolster its midfield options ahead of their Champions League campaign. Just over 18 months ago, Villa was teetering near the relegation zone under Steven Gerrard, but Emery’s arrival has transformed the team’s fortunes, leading them to a top-four Premier League finish and Europa Conference League qualification.

Villa’s Transfer Targets: Barkley and Beyond

Recent reports suggest that Ross Barkley’s move to Villa Park is nearing completion, but Emery isn’t stopping there. Aston Villa is reportedly targeting another high-profile midfield signing to ensure their squad is competitive on multiple fronts. According to Corriere dello Sport, the Midlands club is preparing a bid for Lazio’s Matteo Guendouzi. The French midfielder has had a turbulent season in Rome, allegedly falling out with manager Igor Tudor, and is available for around €30m (£26m).

Why Guendouzi?

Guendouzi, a former Arsenal player under Emery, has shown his prowess since leaving the Premier League. An initial loan to Marseille in 2021/22, followed by a permanent move, saw him thrive, scoring ten goals and registering 19 assists in 103 games for the Ligue 1 side. His versatility and ability to influence games in advanced roles make him a tantalizing prospect for Villa, especially at a relatively modest fee compared to other targets.

Comparison with Conor Gallagher

Villa’s interest in Chelsea’s Conor Gallagher adds another layer to their midfield search. However, Gallagher’s £50m price tag and Chelsea’s willingness to negotiate amid their PSR concerns make this deal complex. Gallagher, who has impressed during his loan spell at Crystal Palace and sporadically at Chelsea, might still be considered overpriced given his contract situation.

The Emery-Guendouzi Connection

Guendouzi’s prior stint under Emery at Arsenal saw him make 66 appearances, more than under any other manager. This connection could facilitate a smooth transition to Villa’s system. Where Emery has already demonstrated his ability to get the best out of players. Guendouzi’s development since leaving Arsenal has been noteworthy, suggesting he could excel once again under the guidance of his former boss.

Guendouzi’s Potential Impact

Guendouzi’s impact in a more attack-minded role was evident during his time at Marseille. His ability to score and create goals from midfield would add a new dimension to Villa’s play. Furthermore, his physicality and tenacity, lauded by pundit Alan Shearer as “warrior-like,” would bring much-needed steel to Villa’s midfield.

Conclusion

While Conor Gallagher offers a proven Premier League pedigree, Matteo Guendouzi presents a compelling alternative. His familiarity with Emery’s tactics, combined with his growth positions him as a strategic acquisition for Aston Villa. At £26m, Guendouzi also represents a more economical option compared to Gallagher’s hefty valuation.

With Ross Barkley’s arrival imminent, adding Guendouzi could significantly bolster Villa’s midfield. Also providing the depth and quality necessary for their Champions League aspirations. Unai Emery’s strategic recruitment could well turn Aston Villa into a formidable force.

As featured on AstonVilla.com

As featured on AstonVillaNews.com

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