Aston Villa

Aston Villa

Premier League • England

Emery laughing as Aston Villa move for France international Man Utd deemed too expensive

Aston Villa manager Unai Emery, Man Utd manager Erik ten Hag

Unai Emery could sign a star who eluded Erik ten Hag two years ago

Aston Villa have entered the race to sign a France international who saw a move to Manchester United fall through thanks to his lofty wage demands, according to reports.

On the back of securing qualification to the Champions League Aston Villa are fully aware their squad needs fleshing out.

The signing of Luton Town’s Ross Barkley for a nominal fee is advancing. The 30-year-old attacking midfielder previously played on loan for Villa in the 2020/21 season and his potential acquisition is viewed as a shrewd one by manager Unai Emery.

The low-cost signing of Barkley might not set pulses racing, though Villa’s backs are against the wall with regards to the Premier League’s PSR rules.

As such, the club have made it a priority to find a permanent buyer for big earner Philippe Coutinho. Elsewhere, Villa will listen to offers for centre-back Diego Carlos and at a push, Jacob Ramsey.

With the budget modest prior to player sales, Villa chief Monchi must use his head in the market and according to reports in Italy, the free agent signing of Adrien Rabiot is being explored.

Rabiot’s close call with Man Utd

The 29-year-old France international is out of contract at Juventus this summer. Juve don’t want to let Rabiot go, though with less than a month until his deal is up an extension is no closer to being signed.

Rabiot is courting interest from Bayern Munich and Manchester United too. In fact, Man Utd attempted to sign Rabiot during Erik ten Hag’s first window in charge back in the summer of 2022.

Ten Hag initially put his eggs in the Frenkie de Jong basket. When that deal crumbled, the United boss quickly turned his attention to Rabiot.

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However, despite agreeing a deal worth an initial £15m with Juventus, the move fell through when Rabiot’s mother priced her son out of a deal.

Veronique Rabiot doubles up as her son’s agent and reports at the time stated Man Utd pulled the plug on the move due to her gigantic wage demands.

The end result saw Man Utd turn to option three (Casemiro), while Rabiot remained at Juventus.

But fast forward to the present day and Rabiot’s time in Turin appears like it’s finally coming to an end.

Aston Villa boosted by two advantages

Villa hope to do what Man Utd couldn’t by bringing the 43-cap France international to the Premier League.

Working in Villa’s favour is the fact they can offer Champions League football next term. Furthermore, Emery is well known to Rabiot having managed the midfielder during their time at PSG in the latter half of the 2010s.

It’s clarified the potential outcome of Rabiot and Juventus thrashing out a last-gasp new contract is by no means impossible.

However, in the event a new chapter awaits, Aston Villa are well-placed to spring a surprise.

The addition of Rabiot – aside from the fact he’d not cost a transfer fee to sign – would also come with another big bonus for Villa and Emery.

Very few players in Villa’s squad boast meaningful Champions League experience. Rabiot has featured 60 times in that competition, scoring seven goals and providing four assists along the way.

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