Unai Emery will be frustrated after Aston Villa summer signing Youri Tielemans publicly called him out over his lack of game time this season.
Tielemans was linked with a host of clubs while his Leicester City contract ran down, including Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United and even Barcelona. At one stage, Arsenal were understood to be leading the chase for the central midfielder. But it then emerged that Tielemans was pricing himself out of that move due to his high wage demands.
Instead, Tielemans ended up joining Villa on a free transfer in the summer. He penned a four-year contract with the West Midlands side and immediately set his sights on gaining a starting spot in midfield ahead of one of John McGinn, Boubacar Kamara or Douglas Luiz.
However, Tielemans has not been able to force his way into Emery’s starting lineup just yet. In most matches this season, the manager has selected Kamara and Luiz in central midfield and utilised skipper McGinn on the left flank.
So far, Tielemans has made four Premier League appearances, all off the bench. The only game he has started was the second leg of Villa’s Europa Conference League qualifier against Hibernian, which Villa won 3-0.
The 26-year-old is currently on international duty with Belgium. When asked about his situation at club level, Tielemans hit out at Emery, in a move which could have consequences for when he returns to Villa Park next week.
“The situation is not pleasant,” Tielemans admitted (via Sport Witness). “I told the manager that I came to Villa to play. He understands me, but at the moment, he prefers to play with the two midfielders from last season. He told me that soon, there will be a succession of games and I’ll get more playing time.
“I know that answer doesn’t get me anywhere, but what should I do? As soon as I get the opportunity, I want to take it. So far, I’ve started once, in the Conference League.”
Youri Tielemans takes situation into his own hands
Interestingly, pundit Danny Murphy recently gave his verdict on Tielemans’ issues at Villa, calling the player ‘super talented’ but questioning whether the transfer will work out.
Tielemans will be hoping to put in some good performances for his country during the international break, as this could convince Emery to give him a start in the Prem.
Belgium play Azerbaijan on Saturday, before coming up against Estonia on Tuesday.
Villa’s next game, meanwhile, is against Crystal Palace in the league on Saturday September 16.