Unai Emery will be pleased with the progress made in the short time following his appointment as head coach of Aston Villa in October, and will now look to utilise the January transfer window to bolster the squad’s hopes of a fantastic finish.
What’s the word?
Despite winning three of the club’s four Premier League fixtures since assuming his managerial role, Emery is far from pleased with the options at his disposal, with a clear onus on the offensive flanks this winter, and Udinese’s Gerard Deulofeu could be the man to bolster the ranks.
According to Birmingham Live, Emery has enquired about the availability of his former favourite, contacting the Italian outfit to discuss the possibility of a transfer.
And with Anwar El Ghazi, Bertrand Traore and Mahmoud Trezeguet all departing last summer, the wide options at the Spaniard’s disposal could certainly do with some reinforcements if the club are to challenge for a European place across the business end of the campaign.
The 28-year-old winger previously played his trade under Emery’s wing for Sevilla during the 2014/15 campaign, scoring three goals and assisting ten more from 28 appearances, flourishing as a creative focal point for his side and winning the Europa League.
Emery will be hoping that he can maximise the player’s ability once again, acting as a provider for the likes of Danny Ings and Ollie Watkins as the talismanic forces in the centre.
Deulofeu has previously played for Everton and Watford – signing for the latter for £11.5m – in the Premier League, scoring 25 goals and registering 30 assists across 145 total appearances for the two sides, dazzling with his creative flair and guile as a marauding presence up and down the flanks.
And he is now in sublime form in Italy, clinching three goals and seven assists from 17 appearances, reaffirming his excellence as a force for positivity.
And last season, the gem netted 13 times from 34 league outings, also snatching five assists.
The “exquisite” ace – as once lauded by Gary Lineker, would bring a much-desired fresh dimension to the Villans’ attack, with FBref incredibly ranking him among the top 1% of forwards for progressive passes and shot-creating actions among positionally similar players in Europe’s top five leagues over the last year.
The statistical website also ranks the wide man within the top 7% for rate of assists and touches within the attacking penalty box.
While the £9m-rated ace has indeed been playing as a central offensive force for his club, it is highly likely he will revert to the wide role that he has been deployed in throughout the majority of his professional career should he sign for Villa.
Indeed, for a player that is “having a rebirth” after several lacklustre seasons, he would be an exquisite addition to Emery’s ranks and must now continue his resurgence in the Midlands of England, reuniting with a former manager and combining to wreak havoc once more, perhaps even challenging for silverware in the not too distant future.