Emery could sign a Bailey rival with Villa swoop for “dangerous” £17m gem

Unai Emery’s side have reportedly made an offer for their latest target. Aston Villa are reportedly back on the hunt for signings this window, as manager Unai Emery looks to bolster his side in preparation for the challenges ahead in the 2023/24 campaign.

The Spaniard has already welcomed four new players to his squad, with Galatasaray midfielder Nicolo Zaniolo arriving most recently on loan from the Turkish champions.

If recent reports are to be believed, the Villans could be preparing to secure a deal for another new addition, with reports in Spain suggesting that the Premier League side could be ready to battle for the signature of a dazzling starlet.

Who could Aston Villa sign this summer?

Having already smashed the club transfer record fee to sign Moussa Diaby in a deal worth £51.9m, Villa could be ready to go to war with the Frenchman’s former club again, according to reports.

News in Spain has listed both the Midlands outfit and Bayer Leverkusen as those interested in Barcelona youngster Abde Ezzalzouli, with the report stating that both sides have made offers for the 21-year-old.

Barcelona are not willing to sanction a move for the Moroccan for a fee less than €20m (£17m), with the understanding that his exit would assist the club in relieving their struggles to adhere to Financial Fair Play (FFP) pressures.

The winger is contracted to the Spanish champions until 2026, however as reported in Spain, the forward would ‘prioritise’ remaining at Barca however wants to play more football, which could see him embark on a new path.

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What is Abde Ezzalzouli’s playing style?

Deployed on either flank, the 21-year-old gem has the pace and ball-carrying ability typical of the skill set identified in wide forward.

A dynamic right-footed player, the Moroccan is most comfortable on the left wing, where he can use his direct approach to play to cause havoc for the opposition, lauded by U23 scout Antonio Mango as a “majestic” and “extremely unpredictable” player in the final third.

For Villa, the Barcelona youngster, who spent last campaign on loan at Osasuna, could prove to be a useful technician for Emery to weave into his squad, in a player that could provide great depth in the wide areas.

One player that could be both threatened and encouraged by his potential arrival is Leon Bailey, who is a similar player to Ezzalzouli in nature and by the threat they pose on the wing.

Last term, the Morocco U23 international netted four goals and registered two assists for Osasuna in LaLiga, compared to Bailey’s four goals and four assists for Villa in the Premier League.

Based on their averages in their respective 2022/23 campaigns, it’s clear to see just how much of an impact the Barcelona gem could be to Emery’s side in place of and to challenge the Jamaican.

As per FBref, Ezzalzouli averaged 5.57 progressive carries and 3.53 successful take-ons per 90 for his loan side, with his rate of successful take-ons ranking him in the top 3% of those in his position in the Spanish top-flight.

At Villa Park, Bailey fell short of the averages recorded by the 21-year-old, recording 3.89 progressive carries and 1.83 successful take-ons per 90, via FBref, highlighting the work that the 26-year-old may have to put in to compete with the club’s target.

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Having also been hailed as a “dangerous” player in attack by Mango, Emery could capture a highly promising threat to integrate into his side, in a move that could challenge Bailey’s position in the squad.