Aston Villa have reportedly accelerated their plans to bring in a proven playmaker after what has been a disastrous few days for the club and boss Unai Emery.
Villa lost attacking midfielder Emi Buendia on the eve of the new Premier League season after he suffered serious knee ligament damage in training that could sideline him for up to eight months.
That injury was then compounded by Tyrone Mings picking up a “significant” knee injury that requires surgery and a “lengthy rehabilitation process” in the opening loss to Newcastle.
Messaging on social media after the game, the England defender wrote: “I don’t even know where to start but to say thank you for all of your messages of support Villa fans.
“From the day I came here on loan I’ve given everything on the pitch, I’ll now give everything off the pitch to come back even better, whilst supporting the team.
“To the players, fans and staff connected to Newcastle I also want to say thank you. The applause, the messages and the medical support I received on the day was really appreciated.”
While the absence of Mings is certainly a huge loss for Villa, losing Buendia has also stripped Emery of a major creative force in his side.
And that is where Villa’s links to Galatasaray attacker Nicolò Zaniolo continue ahead of the summer transfer window closing on September 1.
The winger, who can play a number of positions across the forward line, was approached last week about a loan with an option to buy.
Villa step up Zaniolo chase
But now fresh reports in Turkey claim that, in light of Buendia’s injury, Villa have ‘stepped in and accelerated negotiations’ for the 24-year-old Zaniolo.
It’s claimed Monchi, the club’s sporting director, initially offered a €3m loan fee plus an option to buy set at €27m [€20m plus €7m bonuses] to the Turkish champions. However, that offer was rejected.
Emery has also publicly admitted the Italy international is on Villa’s list of targets now it’s claimed that the Premier League side ‘approached the conditions set’ by the Istanbul club to sell the player.
The offer includes a mandatory purchase option as part of the temporary deal plus a percentage of the fee from his future sale.
They add the two clubs have found a ‘common point’ and therefore the transfer is expected to be concluded fairly quickly.