Man Utd, Liverpool miss out on latest Colombia talent as Aston Villa reach agreement to give Unai Emery second signing

Jhon Duran

Manchester United and Liverpool have missed out on the capture of exciting MLS forward Jhon Duran as Aston Villa have announced an agreement with Chicago Fire for his transfer.

Duran is a 19-year-old striker who has won three caps for the Colombia national team so far. He enjoyed a successful 2021-22 season with Chicago Fire, registering eight goals and six assists in 30 appearances across all competitions.

Duran’s exciting form in MLS resulted in transfer links with some major Premier League clubs. Both Man Utd and Liverpool were tipped to submit bids for him.

Man Utd were reportedly looking at the teenager as a possible striker replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo, following the termination of his contract. Liverpool, meanwhile, were hoping to play Duran alongside Colombia team-mate Luis Diaz.

Fellow English teams Fulham and Brentford soon joined the chase for Duran. Then, on December 26, reports in Italy claimed Aston Villa had put themselves in a good position to land him.

And Unai Emery’s side have now followed that up by reaching an agreement with Chicago Fire. On Monday, they released the following statement: ‘Aston Villa can confirm that an agreement has been reached with Chicago Fire for the permanent transfer of 19-year-old striker, Jhon Duran.

‘The deal is subject to the player passing a medical, agreeing personal terms and obtaining the necessary work visa.’

According to ESPN, the deal is worth an initial $18million, plus $4m in potential bonuses. This means Villa could end up paying a total package worth £18m.

Striker follows Alex Moreno to Aston Villa

Duran, who will become Emery’s second Villa signing after Alex Moreno, is set to become one of the most expensive MLS departures of all time.

His potential $22m fee matches the sum Bayern Munich paid Vancouver Whitecaps for left-back Alphonso Davies in January 2019. The only MLS exit which is more valuable is Miguel Almiron’s transfer to Newcastle, which was worth $26m.

Duran might miss Villa’s match against Southampton this Saturday, depending on how long it takes for him to agree personal terms and acquire a visa. He is more likely to make his Villa debut when the West Midlands side come up against Leicester on February 4.