Aston Villa might have the upper hand over the likes of Arsenal and Tottenham when it comes to signing Barcelona players this summer after Fabrizio Romano revealed their attempts to land a secret weapon.
Villa have become a much more attractive team to join since Unai Emery took over as manager in November. Emery has got them playing an exciting, attacking brand of football and they are picking up the points to match it.
Under Emery, Villa have moved up to seventh place and are now in the mix to qualify for next season’s Europa League.
The Villans could prepare for an assault on the Champions League qualification spots next term by improving their squad with some La Liga stars in the summer.
They have generally been linked with players from Emery’s last club, Villarreal. That includes deadly winger Samuel Chukwueze and centre-back Pau Torres. There have also been rumours Villa might swoop in for Giovani Lo Celso, who is currently on loan at the Spanish club from Tottenham.
However, Villa could now enter the market for some top Barca players. On Twitter, Romano has revealed Villa have made a ‘formal proposal’ for Mateu Alemany to join their thrilling project and work alongside Emery.
Alemany has worked as Barca’s director of football since March 2021 but has decided he will leave the club at the end of the season.
Villa’s offer is described as being one of the ‘most concrete’ for the 60-year-old.
Aston Villa in talks over Barcelona appointment
Should Alemany take Villa up on their offer, then he would likely become their new sporting director. He would work under chief executive officer Christian Purslow to help Emery get the players he wants through the door.
It sounds like Alemany is ready to join Villa, too. In his latest update, Romano stated that Alemany is ‘prepared to accept’ their contract offer.
And given Alemany’s Barca connections, this could see Villa battle Arsenal and Tottenham for the signing of winger Raphinha.
The Brazilian only moved to Barca last summer, joining in a £55million deal from Leeds. However, the La Liga giants need to sell some of their most valuable players in order to create funds for Lionel Messi’s potential return. And Raphinha could be one of the players who leaves as a result.
Arsenal and Tottenham have been put at the front of the queue to sign him recently. But Alemany would be able to negotiate with his former Barca colleagues to get Villa in the frame.
There is also the chance Villa might rival Manchester United and Chelsea in the hunt for left-back Alejandro Balde.
The defender is one of Barca’s most talented young players, although they have yet to tie him down to a new contract. With his current deal set to expire in June 2024, this has put Premier League clubs on alert.
As with Raphinha, appointing Alemany would give Villa an advantage over Man Utd and Chelsea in the chase for Balde.
One Barca player Villa will not be able to sign though is Ansu Fati. Despite being heavily linked with a move to England, his father has ‘guaranteed’ he will be remaining at Barca.