Emery plots ambitious Villa swoop for second Atletico star as all-action midfielder is linked with move

Rodrigo de Paul Atletico Madrid April 2022

Aston Villa are reportedly interested in signing World Cup winner and Atletico Madrid midfielder, Rodrigo de Paul.

The 28-year-old has struggled to find form this season and Diego Simeone is considering letting him leave in January.

Atletico are allegedly going through financial difficulties after getting knocked out of the Champions League in the group stages, so they may be pressured into offloading de Paul.

In fact, several high-profile Atletico players have been linked with transfers away from the Spanish club of late.

Joao Felix seems to be on the way out of the Rojiblancos this winter with Arsenal in the driving seat, while Yannick Carrasco is also pushing for a move to Tottenham. 

As for De Paul, the midfielder has four years remaining on his contract, so Atletico will likely demand a sizeable bid from Aston Villa.

According to reports coming out of Spain, there are a number of European clubs vying De Paul’s signature.

Villa are among the favourites,  while AC Milan and Juventus are also tipped to be strongly interested.

While the midfielder has been an important player for Atletico over the last few years, De Paul has struggled to find form this season.

He has made 12 appearances in LaLiga, but has so far only managed to complete 90 minutes on one occasion.

Instead, Simeone has often opted to play the likes of Geoffrey Kondogbia and Marcos Llorente in the middle of the park.

However, despite his struggles for the Spanish club, the Argentina international was outstanding for his country in the World Cup, helping them to win the tournament for the first time since 1986.

He started all of his country’s matches in Qatar, helping his side to six victories out of seven matches, including three clean sheets.

De Paul would give Emery an excellent midfield option

As for Aston Villa, getting a deal over the line for De Paul could be key in forging a winning mentality in Emery’s side.

Over the last two years, the Argentinian has won a Copa America, a CONMEBOL-UEFA Cup of Champions and of course, the World Cup in Qatar.

He would also be a signing that would instantly improve Villa’s starting XI.

So far, Emery has been relying on the likes of Douglas Luiz, Boubacar Kamara and John McGinn in the middle of midfield, who, despite being good players, are arguably no where near the quality of De Paul.

With the ability to play as a defensive, central or attacking midfielder, De Paul could provide cover in a number of positions.

The Argentine’s strongest attributes are in keeping hold of possession and creating chances. This season, despite struggling for form, De Paul has averaged 1.3 key passes per game, with a pass completion rate of 84%.

He is also excellent at getting the ball to his attackers, averaging 2.4 successful long balls per game, helping his team transition from defence to attack quickly

It looks like Villa will be busy in the January window, with Emery reportedly looking at poaching two of his former attacking players from Villarreal. 

But, bringing in a quality midfield player like De Paul would not go amiss, as Villa look to fire their way to the top-end of the Premier League table under their new manager.

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