Aston Villa are plotting a complete overhaul in the final third after lodging a huge bid for a Liverpool target, tabling a ‘rich offer’ to a former Everton forward, and lining up a Lyon frontman for the summer, per reports.
Unai Emery has already signed off on two new arrivals this month. Alex Moreno has arrived to compete with Lucas Digne at left-back, while Colombia international Jhon Duran sealed an £18m move from MLS side Chicago Fire on Monday.
Duran plays primarily at centre-forward, though per various sources, he’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to attacking additions.
Firstly, the Daily Mail’s Dominic King reported Villa have lodged a club-record bid to sign Athletic Bilbao’s Nico Williams.
Unfortunately, for Emery, it’s claimed the explosive 20-year-old has rejected the chance to join Villa despite the promise of £120,000-a-week wages.
Williams was the subject of a Liverpool scouting mission during the Qatar World Cup. His blistering pace in particular was admired with Jurgen Klopp seeking another dynamic option in attack at the time. However, the Reds ultimately decided against acting, instead moving for Cody Gakpo.
Villa’s current club-record stands at the £33m (rising to £38m through add-ons), paid to sign Emiliano Buendia from Norwich.
Their bid for Williams was greater than that and it’s even stated they were prepared to activate Williams’ £45m release clause.
However, the seven-cap Spain international does not wish to leave the Basque Country for the time being.
The Mail add Aston Villa will quickly move on to other targets, and note Luiz Henrique of Real Betis is now in their sights.
The 22-year-old Brazilian plays primarily on the right wing and only joined Betis from Fluminense over the summer. He’s reportedly valued around the £20m mark.
Aston Villa working on multiple deals
Elsewhere, a pair of updates via Sport Witness have shed light on who else could potentially join the Emery revolution.
Firstly, former Everton, and Watford forward, Gerard Deulofeu, is claimed to have received a contract offer worth €4m per year from Villa, according to Gazzetta dello Sport. That roughly equates to £67,500-a-week.
Now 28, the Spaniard is plying his trade in Italy with Udinese where by and large, he’s been a roaring success.
Deulofeu has bagged 18 goals and 14 assists for Udinese while mainly playing in a front two. BirminghamLive recently reported he’s valued around the £22m mark, while Gazzetta claim Villa are prepared to bid as high as £17.7m to get a deal done this month.
Udinese would rather retain Deulofeu for the remainder of the season before cashing in over the summer. However, finances could ultimately dictate an early sale in the January window’s final week.
Finally, French outlet FootMercato report Villa are sizing up Lyon’s Moussa Dembele as a free agent for the summer.
The 26-year-old plays for Lyon, though does have British experience on his CV through prior spells with Fulham and Celtic.
Dembele has scored goals throughout his career, though has taken a back seat this season following Alexandre Lacazette’s return to the club. Lacazette’s 14 goals in 21 matches across all competitions has reduced Dembele to a bench role.
Emery is deemed ‘keen’ to add Dembele to his ranks, though only if a transfer fee isn’t required.
Dembele is out of contract in six months’ time and as such, is free to negotiate a pre-contract agreement with overseas clubs right now.