Buidling Dreams Together


Aston Villa transfer news: Key players rumoured as Emery prepares for the new season

After Unai Emery steered Aston Villa to an impressive fourth place finish last season, it was always going to be difficult for him to retain all of the players as they inevitably gain interest from other clubs.

There has already been one sale from Villa, with the confirmation of Morgan Sanson moving to Nice. There are a number of rumours that player sales and signings are close to being confirmed, however at the time of writing they are currently still rumours.

Rumoured player arrivals

Weston McKennie (Juventus)

Credit: The Guardian

Midfielder Weston McKennie is known to a number of major clubs in England, so if Aston Villa are able to get him across the line, it would be a real statement signing for the club to prove their intent in both the Premier League and Champions League next season.

While McKennie does have recent Premier League experience on loan with Leeds United under fellow American Jesse Marsch, he’s better known for making over 100 appearances for Juventus in Serie A. With no real success in the Champions League for The Old Lady in recent seasons, it may be one of the factors behind the move.

With them having struggled to get past Lille and eliminated by Olympiacos last season, the odds are stacked against Villa this time round. However, McKennie joining up with (presumed) remaining players such as Tielemans and McGinn in midfield will not only help them all grow, but will also drive strong competition for places.

Sam Iling-Junior (Juventus)

Credit: Teamtalk

Iling-Junior is also rumoured to be joining from Juventus alongside Weston McKennie, and is reported to be a swap deal between Juventus and Villa in exchange for midfielder Douglas Luiz. While that is a big blow for Villa, it is slightly softened by the presumed arrival of Weston McKennie who is likely to replace him perfectly. It’s important to remember that these are still only rumours, so until something is officially signed, the deals could fall through and/or players could be poached.

However, working on the premise that these players are signed, attack-minded player Sam Iling-Junior could prove to be a menace down the left hand-side, particularly with Diaby on the same side.

It appears that he can play both as a left winger and a left wing-back, meaning that he will be progressing forwards either way, fitting in well with Emery’s style of play.

Conor Gallagher (Chelsea)

Credit: The Independent

Gallagher was one of Villa’s first rumoured targets, with the former Chelsea and Crystal Palace midfielder said to be targeting a move to the Midlands.

When it was first rumoured, it seemed like an odd transfer target, given that the club were targeting to go deep in both the Champions League and Premier League. However, now with the benefit of hindsight, it seems that Gallagher may have been targeted as a backup midfielder.

One of the major issues with Aston Villa last season, and many clubs that had a lot more football than usual to play, such as Newcastle, was that they had a large number of injuries to contend with and the squad was very shallow.

It will help them this season that they have experienced European football once, but Champions League football is a different kettle of fish to the Conference League. The Champions League sees teams playing at a much higher intensity with world class players, and even just to attempt to compete, each club needs depth and quality.

Ross Barkley (Luton)

Credit: Luton Town FC

Midfielder Ross Barkley is in a similar boat to Conor Gallagher in that he is unlikely to immediately improve the first team, but again can serve as a suitable backup in midfield should some of the players with less experience fall to injuries.

Something that could take its toll both physically and mentally is teams playing in the Champions League will be playing more games than ever before, playing a maximum of ten games even before reaching the round of 16.

Therefore, it is vital that teams bring in players of various ages that can serve as useful backups to the squad and have varying experience.

Denzel Dumfries (Inter)

Credit: SempreInter

If the rumours of Matty Cash leaving are correct, then Villa are going to need to provide some serious investment into the right back position and provide some balance on the pitch. If Diaby and Iling-Junior do end up playing together, it would be a fantastic link-up. However, it’s important to have the balance on the pitch to keep the opposition on their toes.

Leon Bailey linking up with a right-back in Denzel Dumfries who has significant Champions League experience, including a final against Manchester City in 2023, would undoubtedly help improve the overall ability and experience of the team.

According to Transfermarkt, Dumfries’ market value is approximately £25 million, which is a decent deal for a player of his calibre.

While it looks like the Juventus duo are on their way to Villa Park, it doesn’t seem as though this is as close to happening. Regardless, Aston Villa should seriously consider exploring this option, particularly if Matty Cash has an offer accepted.

There is always a balancing of the books to be done during a transfer window, otherwise one way or another, the club would end up with some problems.

With Champions League football on the horizon, Villa will have inevitably brought attention to a number of key players in their squad.

Rumoured player departures

Jhon Duran

Credit: Transfermarkt

Jhon Duran is rumoured to be in talks with Chelsea. The Blues don’t seem to be messing about with the players they are linked with so far, with Jhon Duran as the most recent rumour.

It makes sense for Duran to join Chelsea and would help his development, particularly if either he or the club feels that he is not ready for Champions League yet. He reached the Conference League semi-final last season and could do so once again with Chelsea.

His regular Premier League experience last season helped him develop and showed his potential as a young 20-year-old, and he has a huge career ahead of him. It seems to be that the best course of action for both Villa and Duran is a loan move to Chelsea, because he can develop naturally whilst getting playing time and then come back to Aston Villa when the club feels he is ready.

However, if the rumours are correct, it looks to be a permanent move to Chelsea, a player which will very much benefit the Blues.

Douglas Luiz

Credit: Football London

As previously mentioned, this is the transfer that looks closest to being complete as Juventus and Aston Villa are reportedly involved in a swap deal. It has caused some mixed opinion on social media.

Looking at it objectively, it isn’t the end of the world despite what some Villa fans might tell you. It would’ve been a lot worse if Douglas Luiz had left on his own, but Weston McKennie coming in as a reported swap deal is a fantastic replacement, and it would be quite surprising if he doesn’t perform up to scratch.

However, an emotionally invested fan might not see it that way, and it will understandably be difficult to let go of a midfielder that has been with you since 2019 and has been a consistent performer in the side.

It’s the price that top managers have to pay to get success. They have to make difficult decisions like this.

Ollie Watkins

Credit: Aston Villa

It was reported approximately two weeks ago that Liverpool were looking at bringing Ollie Watkins to the club following the underwhelming performance of Darwin Nunez despite his high expectations.

Ollie Watkins leaving would likely be a dagger in the hearts of all Villa fans after his 40 goal contributions in all competitions last season.

If an offer were to be made, which doesn’t appear to be the case, it would have to be quite significant for the club to consider it and would want him to continue at Villa Park. Furthermore, Villa are now on the same page as Liverpool with them both playing in the Champions League, so it doesn’t seem that there would be any benefit to Watkins leaving.

If he doesn’t want to leave, there’s not much an argument to suggest that he would.

Matty Cash

Credit: The Times

Aston Villa have reportedly received a £30m bid for Matty Cash from AC Milan, again to which there are benefits and drawbacks.

Similarly to Douglas Luiz, Matty Cash has been a servant of the club for a long time after moving from Nottingham Forest, where he also spent four years. His loyalty and skillset at the top level is unquestionable, and if he were to leave, he would be deserving of a move.

At the same time, a £30m move would sit just above his market value, and no doubt the club would probably want a bit more than that, having already rejected an offer from Milan, according to Birmingham Live reporter John Townley.

It would also allow for some money to be brought in so that the club can pay for a right wing back replacement, one of which Denzel Dumfries would fit into well.

Morgan Sanson (confirmed)

Credit: Aston Villa

At the time of writing, Morgan Sanson is the only player that is confirmed to have left the club as he joins French club Nice.

It was inevitable, as for some players it doesn’t always work out for them in the Premier League. He spent time in France prior to playing at Villa Park and went out on loan for the majority of his time at the club.

Other possible transfer targets

Along with all of the rumours, this section of the post shows off some of the players that have not been credibly linked with a move to the club, but would appear to be a good fit into Unai Emery’s current system.

Rico Lewis (Manchester City)

Credit: Transfermarkt

If Aston Villa do accept AC Milan’s offer for Matty Cash, Rico Lewis would be another excellent option for the right-hand side. According to Transfermarkt, his market value is approximately £35million, more than Dumfries despite being 10 years younger. The 19-year-old has only played for Manchester City intermittently, but definitely shows some significant potential.

However, whilst Kyle Walker continues to turn out for Manchester City, it seems unlikely that he will get much of a look in. This could mean that a loan would be a decent option for Villa and for City, particularly if Dumfries is unavailable.

Nayef Aguerd (West Ham)

Credit: The Independent

A defender with plenty of experience in multiple different leagues could prove to provide some strong competition between himself and Ezri Konsa.

Aguerd is a tall, strong defender that knows the Premier League well, having turned out 21 appearances for West Ham last season.

He has a similar market value to Rico Lewis, meaning that it’s unlikely all of these signings could be secured, but is certainly worth exploring across future windows.

Michael Olise (Crystal Palace)

Credit: GiveMeSport

Crystal Palace played some excellent football in the second half of last season under Oliver Glasner and achieved some brilliant results. Attacking midfielder and winger Michael Olise contributed regularly to these results, including a 4-0 victory over Manchester United and a 5-0 victory over Aston Villa.

16 goal contributions in 19 games came after a season where he played 37 games for Palace, contributing 13 times.

Olise is also linked with Chelsea and Manchester United, both of which will be playing European football next season. However, the advantage that Aston Villa have is that they have the appeal of playing in the Champions League, and would likely get regular playing time.

Another positive for Villa is that Olise would contribute to both squad depth AND quality, which not every signing does for a club.

Deniz Undav (Brighton)

Credit: Brighton & Hove Albion

Undav has had an excellent season in Germany playing for Stuttgart on loan from Brighton. On average, he contributed a goal every other game and looks to be worth another shot in the Premier League.

However, with Brighton on a rebuild of their own, it may be tricky for Villa to lure him away. Once again, though, as we have seen before, the appeal of Champions League football and the opportunity to compete against the best may be too much for some to resist.

Aston Villa have been linked with a number of fantastic players and will only continue to grow under Unai Emery, a fantastic manager who knows how to win. Arsenal fans may not agree with that statement, but in truth he did an excellent job for the Gunners in very tricky circumstances.

Some of these signings, particularly those from Juventus, look very close to being complete, and is a real statement of intent from Aston Villa for the season ahead.

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