Aston Villa

Aston Villa

Premier League • England

Monchi to strike gold with Aston Villa closing on outstanding double deal for elite Spanish pair

Unai Emery is targeting a swoop to bring PSG midfielder Carlos Soler to Aston Villa

Unai Emery is targeting a swoop to bring PSG midfielder Carlos Soler to Aston Villa

Aston Villa are to celebrate their qualification for the Champions League by bolstering their midfield options with two quality Spanish stars – with talks already well advanced over a deal to sign Carlos Soler from Paris Saint-Germain.

The only way has been up for the Midlands giants since the inspired decision to appoint Spanish tactician Unai Emery as coach in November 2022 as a successor to Steven Gerrard. At the time of his appointment, Aston Villa were lingering around the relegation zone with the Spaniard’s immediate brief aimed at securing their safety.

However, the former Arsenal and Villarreal coach inspired a brilliant run of that saw them finish the season in seventh place to secure a place in this season’s UEFA Conference League.

And while their adventure in the competition came to a surprise end at the hands of Olympiacos, who beat them 6-2 on aggregate at the semi-finals stage, it has still become a season to remember for Villa after their fine Premier League form was rewarded with a place in the Champions League; a place that was officially confirmed on Tuesday evening after nearerst challengers Tottenham were beaten 2-0 at home to reigning champions Manchester City.

Having won an impressive 44 of his 82 games in charge so far – giving him a 53.66% win record, Emery has certainly had the midas touch at Villa Park.

However, with some of European football’s biggest and best due to visit Villa Park next season – this will be Villa’s first entry into the Champions League since 1983, when it was still the European Cup – it will take a monumental effort to maintain that record next season.

Villa talks for PSG star Soler have been going on for months

Qualification for the Champions League certainly provides a welcome financial boost too, especially amid suggestions that Villa may be forced to cash in on a big-name star this summer.

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However, entry into UEFA’s top competition certainly strengthens their hand and Emery, alongside president of football operations, Monchi, would prefer to sell some of the club’s unwanted stars and lesser lights if they are forced to part with any players.

Furthermore, a report in France claims Villa are already making plans to further increase the quality of their squad ahead of their Champions League entry, with a move to sign Soler from PSG already significantly advanced.

That’s according to L’Equipe, who claim the Ligue 1 giants are preparing for a huge summer with a number of departures and arrivals kicking off with Kylian Mbappe’s high-profile exit to Real Madrid.

However, Mbappe will soon be followed out the PSG exit door by Soler, who has been given permission to leave after a season of relative inactivity.

Indeed, the former Valencia midfielder has featured in just 993 minutes of action this season following his initial €18m move in summer 2022.

And with Luis Enrique not starting in his way, talks over a potential move to Villa Park have been ongoing for some time with the 14-times capped Spain midfielder well aware he needs to give his career something of a reboot.

As a result, a prospective move to Villa Park is described as ‘well established’ for the 27-year-old midfielder, who was a target for Manchester United during his Valencia days.

Monchi looking to make it a Spanish midfielder double for Villa

In addition to Soler, Villa are also in talks over a deal to sign former Celta Vigo midfielder Gabri Veiga, who is looking to return to mainland European football after a switch to Al-Ahli in summer 2023.

Rated as one of the hottest prospects in LaLiga, the 21-year-old – courted at the time by several of Europe’s biggest sides, including Real Madrid and Barcelona – stunned the footballing world by joining the plethora of big-name stars to move to the Saudi Pro League. But unlike the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema, Veiga is at the opposite end of his footballing career with his move to the Gulf State drawing widespread criticism.

But less than a year after making the move, Veiga is keen to depart, having instructed his agent to secure him a move back to European football.

A return to LaLiga certainly looks a likely option with Atletico Madrid leading the charge for his signature and with Diego Simeone an admirer of the Spain U21 midfielder’s qualities.

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However, Villa are also considering a move of their own having held talks with his agent over a possible move to the Premier League and in another swoop that would significantly strengthen Emery’s midfield options.

Any deal for Veiga, though, will be difficult to pull off with the player on a deal worth an estimated £200,000 a week and contracted to Al-Ahli until 2026.

The Saudi Pro-League are reluctant to let him leave, but could be convinced to cash in on the unhappy star, who has failed to settle in the Middle East, and if they receive their €30m investment back.