Incoming director of football Mateu Alemany is the catalyst behind an ‘advancing’ Barcelona coup, and an anticipated £200m summer spend could also see Aston Villa snatch a Liverpool midfield target too, per reports.
Alemany will ditch the Camp Nou for Villa Park this summer and big plans once arriving are already afoot. Indeed, the Sun reported on Thursday that Aston Villa are eyeing a colossal £200m outlay on new recruits this summer.
Attacking reinforcements are taking centre stage after Villa fell short with moves for the likes of Gerard Deulofeu (Udinese) and Nico Williams (Athletic Bilbao) in January.
According to Spanish outlet Sport, Villa are primed to have far better success with Ferran Torres.
The ex-Man City forward joined Barcelona in the winter window of 2022. The 23-year-old Spain international cost roughly £48.4m to sign.
However, the subsequent arrivals of players such as Raphinha and Robert Lewandowski has shunted Torres down the pecking order. He’s made 29 LaLiga appearances this term, though over half have come from the bench.
Sport report a change of scenery to reignite his stalling career is on the cards and that is expected to come via a move to Aston Villa.
Indeed, it’s claimed Alemany’s arrival has ‘expedited’ a move for Torres and the two clubs are ‘advancing’ in negotiations.
Sport state if and when the final details are thrashed out, Torres will arrive at Villa Park no later than June 30. That is the date Barcelona need to sanction most of their summer sales by to conform with LaLiga’s financial regulations.
Minimum Torres transfer fee set
Barcelona won’t sell for less than €42m and would ideally recoup 100 percent of what they paid. £48.4m equates to just over £55m at the current exchange rate.
That would represent Aston Villa’s new club-record, with the current mark held by Emiliano Buendia (£38m including add-ons).
Villa’s interest is labelled ‘total’ by the piece. In other words, it’s concrete and is not spur of the moment.
Villa will reportedly explore numerous options to close a deal. While not stated, that would suggest they’re open to how a deal would be structured, such as paying in one lump sum, in instalments, or with the inclusion of add-ons etc.
Whatever Barca demand, Villa are seemingly prepared to consider it to ensure a Torres deal doesn’t slip through their fingers.
Both Alemany and manager Unai Emery know Torres well and believe he can be a difference-maker at Villa Park. Torres notched 13 goals in 36 matches during his only full season at the Etihad. Making those figures all the more impressive is the fact he was never a regular starter in that campaign.
Villa fans also need not fear over signing an outcast from another club.
Indeed, Sport conclude Barcelona are only cashing in due to their need to generate funds from player sales. Were their books in better order, Torres would not be leaving Catalonia after just 18 months.
Aston Villa plotting Liverpool hijack
Elsewhere, Villa are also eyeing up a move for dominant midfield enforcer, Manuel Ugarte.
The Sporting midfielder, 22, is high on Liverpool’s radar and Portuguese outlet Record claimed the Reds are readying an offer.
Ugarte holds a release clause in his Sporting contract that can be triggered if €60m (approx. £52.2m) is bid.
Liverpool reportedly plan to chance their arm at a lower price point, thus leaving the door ajar for Villa to swoop in by bidding the full amount.
According to the Sun, talks between Villa and Ugarte have already begun. If they do match the release fee, the pressure will be on Liverpool to do the same or a deal will be Villa’s to make – providing Ugarte agrees to a move, of course.