Aston Villa

Aston Villa

Premier League • England

Unai Emery in dreamland with Aston Villa signing agreed and £25.5m bid prepped for former Arsenal star

Matteo Guendouzi and Ross Barkley

How much Aston Villa will pay to sign Ross Barkley has emerged, while a £25.5m bid is being prepared for another midfield addition at the behest of Unai Emery, according to multiple reports.

Aston Villa will compete in Europe’s premier competition for the first time since the 1982/93 campaign next season. Manager Unai Emery worked wonders at Villa Park last term and largely juggled the stresses and strains of competing on two fronts well.

However, while Emery had the luxury of resting and rotating his key players in the Europa Conference League, the Champions League is not a competition that can be taken lightly.

As such, Emery and club chief Monchi are determined to add proven performers to their squad without breaking the bank.

Ross Barkley had been identified as the type of cost-effective signing that would add quality to Villa’s midfield.

Barkley shone upon returning to the Premier League with the Hatters last season, though Luton’s campaign ultimately ended with relegation.

The chances of Barkley remaining at the club in the Championship always appeared slim. Villa mobilised and advanced in discussions with Barkley’s camp in mid-May.

According to a fresh update from Fabrizio Romano, Villa have ramped up their pursuit having verbally agreed a transfer fee with Luton.

£5m seals Ross Barkley signing; expected arrival date emerges

Aston Villa will pay around £5m to sign the 30-year-old. A medical is still to be conducted and the contracts signed, though a club-to-club agreement signals a deal will cross the line in the end.

The British summer transfer window opens on June 14, though Romano claimed official confirmation of the move might be delayed until early July.

It’s at the beginning of next month where a final agreement between Barkley and Aston Villa regarding personal terms will be thrashed out.

Prior reports claimed Emery was a key driver behind Villa’s pursuit of Barkley who also came under consideration at Manchester United.

Ex-Arsenal star next?

Elsewhere, reports in Italy are strongly suggesting Lazio’s Matteo Guendouzi could follow Barkley into Villa Park.

Guendouzi spent the 2023/24 season loaned to Lazio from French side Marseille. The loan agreement contained a conditional option to buy worth a €13m fixed fee plus €5m in add-ons.

Lazio elected to activate the option in April and will sign the former Arsenal star outright when the Italian window opens.

However, it’s now emerging that Guendouzi doesn’t actually want to remain with Lazio amid a strained relationship with manager Igor Tudor.

Tudor previously managed Guendouzi at Marseille and a falling out in France sparked Guendouzi’s loan to Lazio in the first place.

Unfortunately for Guendouzi, Tudor subsequently replaced Maurizio Sarri as Lazio manager in March of this year and their relationship remains frosty.

Lazio are attempting to thaw the relations between the pair, though it’s claimed their efforts haven’t been successful so far.

On the contrary, Guendouzi reportedly wants to leave and is keen on returning to England where a move to Villa Park could await.

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Emery could sign Guendouzi… again

Emery is the manager who initially brought Guendouzi to England way back in 2018 while in charge at Arsenal.

Guendouzi didn’t pull up any trees at the Emirates, though has thrived since leaving north London and has racked up eight senior caps for France after making his debut in 2021.

Villa and more specifically Emery have taken note and it’s claimed the Spanish manager is once again the driving force behind Villa’s chase.

To that end, Villa are said to be willing to put €30m/£25.5m on the table to get a deal done.

Lazio are reluctant to sell, though the chance to make an immediate profit on a player who reportedly doesn’t want to be at the club anyway will appeal.

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