Aston Villa

Aston Villa

Premier League • England

Aston Villa toss Man Utd aside as first of four new signings nears; Chelsea star next for ambitious Emery

Aston Villa manager Unai Emeryager Unai Emery

Aston Villa are in advanced discussions with a Manchester United target, while a report claims Unai Emery wants three more signings and a Chelsea star is up next.

Aston Villa will participate in Europe’s premier competition next season for the first time since the 1982/83 campaign. Unai Emery was regularly able to rotate his side in the Europa Conference League this term, though that luxury won’t extend to the Champions League if Villa are to progress through the group and make an impact in the knockout rounds.

As such, the club are seeking to add excellent strength in depth to their ranks this summer. Hampering their efforts is the fact Villa must be wary of breaching the Premier League’s Profit and Sustainability rules.

As such, a low-cost signing or two is part of Villa’s thinking and discussions to bring Ross Barkley back into the Premier League are advancing rapidly.

Barkley, 30, shone during the last campaign with Luton Town. His displays weren’t enough to prevent the Hatters from suffering relegation, though that’s not for a lack of effort and end product on Barkley’s behalf.

Indeed, Barkley registered five goals and four assists in 32 league matches. He was also statistically rated as Luton’s player of the season with an average per-match rating of 7.32 by FotMob. Marauding left-back Alfie Doughty came second with an average mark of 7.16.

The attack-minded Barkley hopes to play in the top flight again next season and has also emerged as a transfer target for Man Utd.

However, rather than sign up for the revolution being led by Sir Jim Ratcliffe, Barkley is on course to join Aston Villa.

Barkley in advanced talks with Villa

Multiple sources have confirmed discussions between Villa and Barkley and his camp are advanced.

Villa will have to pay a transfer fee to close the deal, though the size of the sum is not expected to be a big one.

Barkley previously excelled while loaned to Villa from Chelsea during the 2020/21 season. A return to Villa Park – this time on a permanent basis – is now on the cards.

Manager Emery is understood to be a key driver behind the advancing deal and views the signing of Barkley as a clever acquisition.

Three more signings wanted – including Chelsea man

If and when Barkley’s signing is wrapped up, attention will quickly turn to other signings at full-back and in the forward line.

However, according to the Guardian, another midfielder could follow Barkley into Villa Park – Chelsea’s Conor Gallagher.

They namechecked the 24-year-old Blues man as a concrete target at Villa. Prior reports have claimed the inclusion of Jhon Duran into the deal as a makeweight could help bring the cost of the move down.

Chelsea are understood to value Gallagher – who is also wanted by Tottenham – around the £50m mark.

The all-action midfielder is primed to enter the final 12 months of his deal at Stamford Bridge. If a new agreement isn’t quickly ironed out over the coming weeks and months, Chelsea will reluctantly greenlight a summer sale.

To boost Villa’s spending power the Guardian concluded finding a permanent buyer for Philippe Coutinho is a key objective.

Furthermore, bids for Jacob Ramsey – particularly if they’re lucrative – will be entertained if other avenues close. The sales of homegrown stars represent pure profit on a club’s balance sheet.

A much more palatable sale for Villa would involve centre-back Diego Carlos who earns £100,000-a-week at Villa Park.

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