Unai Emery is the driving force behind Aston Villa chasing a Sevilla star, though an arrival would raise serious questions about their best player and whether he could leave for Man Utd.
A manager’s first transfer window is always an important one and Unai Emery has a distinct advantage this time around. Some of Villa’s leading lights are in Qatar, though the vast bulk of their squad have remained in situ. Emery now has a six-week block to closely monitor his new charges and determine which positions require an upgrade in the winter window.
The last position you might expect Aston Villa to address is between the sticks.
Indeed, Emiliano Martinez is arguably their best player and has established himself as one of the finest stoppers in the Premier League since arriving from Arsenal in 2020.
However, according to Football Insider, a new goalkeeper is on Emery’s agenda.
They report Sevilla’s Yassine Bounou – sometimes referred to simply as Bono – is in their sights.
The 31-year-old started for Morocco on Thursday and kept a clean sheet in their World Cup opener against Croatia.
Bounou has developed into one of LaLiga’s top goalkeepers since moving to Sevilla from Girona, also in 2020.
Emery the catalyst behind Bono pursuit
Villa are described as ‘keeping close tabs’ on the star. Furthermore, it’s suggested Emery is the driving force behind the pursuit with the Spaniard a ‘huge admirer’ of Bounou. Emery has seen the stopper up close and personal having managed Villarreal before moving to Villa Park.
The obvious question Villa fans might have is what does that mean for Martinez?
The Argentine No 1 only signed a new Villa extension in January. His future is committed to the club until 2027.
Bounou could conceivably be drafted in to provide top drawer back-up. However, it’s unlikely a starting goalkeeper at a team who regularly compete in Europe would readily accept a bench role.
What are the Martinez implications?
The report acknowledges the Bounou interest is a surprise, and call back to reports in September that linked Martinez with Man Utd.
The Red Devils could be seeking a replacement for David de Gea amid concerns his lack of ability with his feet will always be a drawback for Erik ten Hag.
Martinez is two years younger and is understood to be ‘highly rated’ by United. Despite being 30, he’s reportedly valued around the £45m mark.
If Villa were to move for Bounou, the first question Emery must be asked is what that means for Martinez.
Villa fans would be loathed to lose arguably their best player, though signing Bounou as a deputy makes little sense given his ability and stature.