Aston Villa

Aston Villa

Premier League • England

Aston Villa outdo Tottenham again by joining race for Chelsea star; talks open over second midfield addition

Conor Gallagher, Ross Barkley and the Aston Villa badge

Midfield is one of Villa's priorities ahead of their Champions League entry

After beating Tottenham to Champions League qualification, Aston Villa have joined the race for one of Ange Postecoglou’s top targets, as reports indicate they could revitalise their midfield ahead of next season.

Unai Emery has guided Villa to a fourth-place finish in the Premier League, which means they will be in UEFA’s top competition next term. Naturally, they will need to add some strength in depth to compete on all fronts.

With that in mind, we recently outlined four areas Aston Villa have to address to make an impact in the Champions League. Strengthening their midfield was highlighted as a high priority.

Some potential targets are already emerging. For example, an update from the Daily Telegraph has revealed that Aston Villa are interested in signing Conor Gallagher from Chelsea.

Gallagher is approaching the final year of his contract at Stamford Bridge. Despite being a popular player under Mauricio Pochettino, some members of the Chelsea board are in favour of selling the academy product.

As TEAMtalk sources have confirmed, Tottenham are long-term admirers of Gallagher and until now have seemed like the favourites to sign him. However, Villa could also make their own move for the England international.

Gallagher is likely to be called up for Euro 2024 and doesn’t want to rush his decision about his future, so this might be a rumour that does the rounds for a while. Villa, Spurs or anyone else wanting to sign him will have to be patient.

One potential problem for Villa might be Gallagher’s price tag. Chelsea have wanted up to £50m for the 24-year-old, which would be a bit too much for Monchi to sanction. But Gallagher’s contract situation might force the price down.

Aston Villa target former midfielder

A cheaper alternative Villa are also believed to be interested in, according to Football Insider, is the familiar face of Ross Barkley.

Barkley once endured a loan spell at Villa Park from Chelsea and has got his Premier League career back up and running this season with Luton Town, who are set to be relegated back to the Championship.

Luton never clarified the contract they gave Barkley when bringing him back into English football last summer. But they are under pressure of losing him whatever the case due to their drop down to the second tier.

It’s claimed that Villa have already opened talks about taking Barkley back for a second spell. Emery himself has reportedly given his approval to the pursuit.

Before, Barkley scored three goals in 24 appearances for Villa during the 2020-21 season, under the management of Dean Smith.

Like with Gallagher, Villa will likely face competition from other clubs if they want to sign Barkley. But their newfound status as a Champions League club – if they can stay on the right side of Profit and Sustainability regulations – might make them an appealing choice.

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