Euro giant arrives to steal Aston Villa striker target as ‘informal talks’ held

Julian Alvarez River Plate

European giants Juventus are rivalling Aston Villa for the signing of an in-form striker, according to reports.

Villa are prepared to enter a new era as Steven Gerrard has come in to replace Dean Smith. The Liverpool legend is tasked with taking them into Europe over the next couple of seasons.

The West Midlands outfit spent big in the summer to replace talisman Jack Grealish. Playmaker Emi Buendia arrived for a club-record fee, while Danny Ings joined from Premier League rivals Southampton.

Villa also completed the capture of exciting Jamaica winger Leon Bailey for £25m.

The club’s success in the recent transfer window has not been replicated on the pitch. Villa sit 16th in the table after 11 outings and have lost their last five games – hence Smith’s departure.

Gerrard will bring with him a new transfer strategy, although one striker target is still on the club’s radar. That man is River Plate ace Julian Alvarez, who is on an impressive 15 goals from 16 appearances this term.

The 21-year-old’s exceptional form has seen him join up with Lionel Messi in the Argentina national team. Alvarez featured in their recent 0-0 draw with rivals Brazil, earning his fourth cap in the process.

Villa have been pursuing Alvarez since July, following a successful scouting mission in South America. Reports claim they are willing to make an offer, but they could now lose out.

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ESPN report that Juventus are ready to muscle in on the transfer hunt. They have held ‘informal talks’ with River Plate over a January switch, which could cost up to €25m.

That would include an initial €15m, plus around €10m in add-ons. Juve are confident of completing a deal but may need to act fast once the window re-opens.

River Plate do not want any uncertainty towards the end of January. Should discussions last until the final ten days of the window, then they will demand €35m instead.

All of this is bad news for Villa, who must surely decide whether they are going to formalise their interest in Alvarez. If not, they will need to look at alternative strikers, potentially in mainland Europe.

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Rangers raid ‘makes sense’ for Gerrard, says pundit

Meanwhile, pundit Kevin Phillips reckons Gerrard should raid former club Rangers for Glen Kamara.

The Finland international was a reliable performer during Rangers’ ‘Invincibles’ campaign in 2020-21.

He is thought to be on Gerrard’s wish list as the manager looks to bolster his midfield.

“It wouldn’t surprise me one little bit if he went back in for one of the lads at Rangers,” Phillips told Football Insider.

“It’s great to have players in that midfield area who know how the manager works. Kamara knows how the ways in which manager works and he knows what he expects. That player can speak to the other players and help them understand what the manager wants, his philosophy.

“It makes sense that he would go back for one of his former players.

“Kamara is certainly a player who could do a job in the Premier League.”

READ MORE: Pundit expects Gerrard to make Grealish subject of training ground rant to Villa stars