Aston Villa have thundered in with an improved bid to sign a lethal winger, though if the deal is hijacked, attention will turn to a long-time Liverpool target instead, per a top source.
With a Europa Conference League campaign due to swell Aston Villa’s fixture list, Unai Emery is seeking to add both quality and quantity in the market this summer.
The Spaniard has made a barnstorming start to the window, with two guaranteed starters in the form of Youri Tielemans (free) and Pau Torres (£31.5m) signed.
However, the best may still be to come, with Villa determined to add Bayer Leverkusen hotshot, Moussa Diaby, to their frontline.
The France international has racked up an incredible 81 goal contributions for Leverkusen over the last three seasons in the Bundesliga. Showcasing his consistency, Diaby has hit double figures in both the goals and assists categories over those three campaigns.
Newcastle also like what they’ve seen from the 24-year-old left-footer. However, per the Daily Mail, their attention is currently on signing Harvey Barnes from Leicester. The Foxes’ replacement is speculated to be coming from Man Utd.
In any case, Villa’s primary competition for Diaby is coming from Saudi Arabian side Al Nassr.
An opening Villa bid worth €35m (approx. £30m) plus add-ons was rejected by Leverkusen. Xabi Alonso’s side are understood to value Diaby closer to €60m (approx. £51m).
News from Germany then claimed Al Nassr tabled their own opening bid. Given no confirmation has arrived, it stands to reason their reported €43m (£36.8m) offering was also spurned.
Now, according to Fabrizio Romano, Aston Villa have upped the ante with an improved bid.
The transfer guru tweeted Villa have “sent their second bid”, though stopped short of revealing its size. However, given Al Nassr failed with an offer of £36.8m, it would only make sense if Villa’s improved bid was even higher.
Villa’s club-record purchase remains the £38m paid to sign Emiliano Buendia from Norwich. As such, the second Diaby bid is highly likely to be a club-record attempt.
Romano sounded a warning for Villa, noting Al Nassr have also tabled their second bid. What’s more, their proposal comes with a “huge salary” that Villa no doubt won’t be able to match.
As such, much will depend on whether a player in his prime wishes to join the Saudi Pro League or remain in Europe.
Winger who eluded Liverpool Emery’s plan B
In the event Diaby eludes Aston Villa, Romano doubled down on the claim Jeremy Doku is their plan B.
The Belgium international, 21, came close to signing for Liverpool way back in 2018.
Doku was on the books at Anderlecht at the time and visited Anfield when exploring his next move. Per talkSPORT, Jurgen Klopp even suggested Doku would be viewed as the long-term successor to Sadio Mane.
However, Doku elected to join French club Rennes instead and has since gone on to become a regular starter. The tricky wideman enjoyed something of a breakthrough year last season, notching a career-best seven goals in the campaign.
Liverpool have kept tabs on Doku since the snub, though alternate moves for the likes of Harvey Elliott, Diogo Jota, Luis Diaz, Fabio Carvalho and Cody Gakpo have ensured they’ve never made a decisive move for Doku.
Per Romano, Doku is Aston Villa’s back-up plan if Al Nassr are successful in luring Diaby to Saudi Arabia.