Aston Villa

Aston Villa

Premier League • England

Aston Villa transfers: Monchi wants Leeds star as first signing as eight players are released in brutal clearout

Monchi is the new Aston Villa president of football operations

Aston Villa have confirmed the appointment of Monchi as their president of football operations – and a trusted reporter suggests he is in the market to make a Leeds United star his first signing.

The 54-year-old Spaniard has a huge reputation in the game and is seen as the mastermind behind Sevilla’s European successes. Indeed, during his time in charge, the LaLiga side has won an astonishing seven Europa League titles.

Three of those successes (2014, 2015, 2016) were achieved under Unai Emery, the current Villa boss. As a result, supporters will hope the combination can strike up a similar success at Villa Park.

Speaking on the club’s official website, Monchi has expressed his delight at confirming the move.

“I am very excited to join Aston Villa,” he said. “[The club] is a great project which is striving for excellence from the Under-9s to the top level. I completely share the vision of Mr Sawiris and Mr Edens (owners Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens).

“I am also delighted and can’t wait to work with Unai Emery again, one of the best managers in football.

“After enjoying so many years with Sevilla and winning several European trophies with my life-long club, I look forward to building on the recent successes at Aston Villa and ensuring this colossal club continues to grow and improve.”

His reign, however, has started in brutal fashion with Villa confirming the departures of eight players. Confirmed to leave are first-teamers Ashley Young and Jed Steer; indeed Villa had already confirmed and thanked veteran star Young for his contributions.

Joining them in leaving are Declan Frith, Hayden Lindley, Arjan Raikhy, Ruben Shakpoke, Myles Sohna and Brad Young. All eight now become free agents.

READ MORE: Two free agents expected to sign for Villa as Monchi deal nears

Aston Villa transfers: Leeds star Rodrigo wanted

Villa are now expected to make a series of impressive signings to help take Villa to the next level. And a bigger squad will be needed with the club looking to make their mark in the UEFA Conference League next season.

Reports recently have claimed Villa are among the clubs looking at signing Leeds star Rodrigo this summer.

He reportedly has a clause in his deal allowing him to leave for a cut-price fee.

And having scored 13 Premier League goals in a Leeds side that was relegated last season, it is easy to see why he looks an attractive addition for a number of sides.

Now reports claim Villa are looking to swoop, with trusted reporter Ben Jacobs providing the lowdown.

“Rodrigo is being looked at by a variety of clubs,” Jacobs told Leeds United Ultras (21m 23s, 15 June).

“There is an opportunity for clubs to get a bargain,” Jacobs said. “He is being looked at by a variety of clubs, PSG are one to watch, I’m told Villa are watching his situation very closely. Brighton are on the lookout. It is hard to see Rodrigo staying.”

Nonetheless, the striker has treated his situation with respect when questioned about a possible exit this week.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen honestly, but I have a contract with Leeds and that has to be respected,” he said, while on Spain duty this week.

Indeed, Rodrigo is one of Leeds’ top earners and looks unlikely to hang around in the Championship with his exit seen as highly likely.

READ MORE: Villa battling Liverpool, Burnley for 17-goal Japan attacker