Aston Villa

Aston Villa

Premier League • England

Monchi planning biggest-name signing in Aston Villa history as ‘talks begin’ for world-class attacker

Aston Villa chief Monchi is on the trail of Paulo Dybala

Aston Villa chief Monchi is on the trail of Paulo Dybala

Aston Villa president of football operations Monchi is reported to have opened talks over a deal for one of the biggest coups in the club’s history in Paulo Dybala – and there is a growing belief Unai Emery’s side can land the World Cup winner for a bargain fee.

Villa have enjoyed something of a meteoric rise since the game-changing appointment of Spanish tactician Emery at Villa Park as a successor to Steven Gerrard in November 2022. The 52-year-old coach has taken a side with relegation fears into the final stages of a major European competition in the UEFA Conference League, where a quarter-final against Ligue 1 side next on the horizon.

Victory in that competition – and given Emery already has four European titles to his name as a coach gives them added belief – will book Aston Villa a place in next season’s Europa League.

However, better yet could be on the cards with a place in the Champions League up for grabs, with Villa currently riding high in fourth place in the Premier League table.

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They currently hold a three-point advantage over Tottenham, who do have a game in hand, while Manchester United sit a further six points further back in sixth.

And while their form has taken a bit of a hit of late – the crushing 4-0 defeat at home to Tottenham potentially the most damaging – Emery and Co should have the confidence to push through and secure that top-four finish.

Such an achievement would, of course, grant Villa an enormous cash boost given the acclaim and monies that come with competing in European football’s premier competition.

Moreover, it would also present Villa as a hugely-attractive project to some even bigger-name stars come the summer window.

Monchi puts Villa in the frame for Dybala transfer

Ahead of the summer window, speculation has already gone into overdrive about the type of high-calibre player Villa could attract.

And now, according to Italian paper Il Messaggero, Villa are exploring the possibility of bringing World Cup winning forward Dybala to the club this summer.

The 30-year-old is currently at Roma where he has enjoyed a solid season under recently-appointed coach Daniele De Rossi.

Having arrived as a free agent from Juventus in summer 2022, he has gone on to score 32 goals in 62 appearances so far. That tally includes an impressive 14 in 28 this season, with Dybala, despite not being an out and out centre forward option underlining his enormous goal threat for the Giallorossi.

However, his current arrangement is due to expire in summer 2025 and, tellingly, there is a clause in that deal allowing the 185-goal forward to move overseas for a mere €13m (£11.5m) – a drop in the ocean by current standards.

Per the Italian report, interest in the 2022 World Cup winner comes from two sides: Atletico Madrid and Villa.

However, of the pair it appears Villa are the more active of the pair and Monchi, who holds a solid reputation in the game and masterminded the signings of Mousa Diaby and Pau Torres last summer, is reported to have already been in contact with the player’s representatives.

Roma legend advises Giallorossi to sell Dybala

Villa have already decided against the permanent signing of loan arrival Nicolo Zaniolo, meaning there would be room in their squad for Dybala if they decided to pursue their interest.

Furthermore, it’s reported that the player is open to the idea of playing in the Premier League, having previously attracted admiring glances from both Tottenham and Manchester United.

However, it appears that a move to Villa looks the strongest option with the capture of the player – while a long way from being a club-record at Villa – would certainly represent a cast-iron stellar deal and one of the most monumental in the club’s history.

The prospects of Roma losing their star man is not a new concept either and legendary figure Francesco Totti claims it would not bad thing if the Argentinian moved on, questioning his levels of fitness.

“We are talking about a top player, but we need to understand what the club want to do in the future and their targets for next season,” the former Roma talisman told il Corriere dello Sport.

“If I were a director, I’d think about a footballer who plays 15 games in a year. If I have an important target and one of my best players is available for a third of the games, I must make my assessments.”

While Dybala’s exit clause sits at €13m for non-Italy sides, Roma’s Serie A rivals can also lure him away if they make a €20m payment.

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