Aston Villa in stunning double move as Unai Emery goes after Real Madrid man and Barcelona-linked star
Aston Villa could complete two impressive transfers in the summer after reports detailed their interest in Real Madrid’s Dani Ceballos and a player in Barcelona’s sights.
Ceballos was at Arsenal between 2019 and 2021, as the Gunners loaned him from Real for two seasons. The central midfielder played 77 times for Arsenal in all competitions, helping them to win an FA Cup.
Ceballos returned to the Spanish capital before the start of last season. Injuries limited him to 18 appearances. He has played more often this term, although he is still not a regular in midfield due to Carlo Ancelotti’s wealth of options in the position.
The Spaniard will be out of contract come the summer. He has previously been tipped to sign an extension, despite not being one of the first names on the team sheet.
However, according to Football Espana, who cite reports emerging from Spain, Ceballos has completed a U-turn and is now considering offers from elsewhere.
He could secure a shock move to Real’s local rivals Atletico Madrid. They are interested in snapping him up on a free transfer this summer.
A switch to Aston Villa is more likely, though. In February, Spanish newspaper Marca reported that Villa have sent Ceballos a contract proposal.
Villa boss Unai Emery is keen to reunite with the 26-year-old, having worked with him at the Emirates.
Unai Emery wants reunion with former Arsenal player
Emery will try to convince Ceballos on a Premier League return with Villa by explaining how he will get more minutes in the west Midlands. As Ceballos is a classy operator with experience at the highest level, he should be able to force his way into the Villa midfield.
Ceballos is not the only La Liga player who might move to Villa Park this summer, with Emery planning a brilliant double swoop. Earlier this week, it emerged that the manager is also interested in Athletic Bilbao centre-back Inigo Martinez.
Just like Ceballos, Martinez is due to become a free agent at the end of the season. And according to Spanish outlet Sport, Barcelona are trying to sign him.
Although, the report urges them to be wary of Villa and Atleti. That is because both of those sides have sent offers to Martinez and his agent.
The 31-year-old, who has been on Athletic Bilbao’s books since January 2018, is currently prioritising a transfer to Barca.
However, Martinez could be tempted by Emery and Villa’s advances. He has never played outside of Spain before, so an adventure in the Prem could prove to be enticing.
It would be a real triumph if Villa could get both of these stars through the door. They would elevate the defence and midfield to the next level, helping Villa to potentially move up the league table next season.
Signing players who are either on Real’s books or being targeted by Barca would show Villa fans that Emery means business. But getting them to join when they have other big offers on the table will certainly be a challenge.
Meanwhile, Villa are reportedly battling Newcastle for the capture of an Arsenal player.