Arsenal and Liverpool are two of four Premier League sides interested in signing Villarreal’s Alex Baena, and the Spanish side fear his lowly release clause could see him poached, per a report.
The Spaniard, 21, has started the current campaign in truly remarkable style. He’s been on Villarreal’s books since 2011, though made his breakthrough while on loan at Segunda Division side Girona last term.
He appeared in all 38 league matches and notched five goals along the way. However, his incredible goalscoring form back at Villarreal this season suggests he’s on a steep upwards trajectory.
Baena has scored six goals in his first 10 matches across all competitions this term.
What makes the left winger’s statistics all the more impressive is the fact those six goals in LaLiga and the Europa Conference League have come in just 368 minutes of action.
That equates to a goal every 61 minutes across those competitions. For comparison, Erling Haaland who is scoring for fun at Man City is finding the net at a ratio of just two minutes better per goal (every 59 minutes).
Baena’s astounding start to the campaign has not gone unnoticed, according to Spanish outlet Sport.
They state Premier League quartet Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea and Man City all maintain an interest in the winger.
Villarreal hatch Alex Baena plan
Villarreal boss, Unai Emery, is already fearing his newest prized asset could be poached before he reaps the rewards.
Even more worrying for the Yellow Submarine is the size of Baena’s release clause.
Sport add Baena can be signed for just €35m (approx. £30.5m).
Baena is under contract until 2025, though per the report, Villarreal hope to kill two birds with one stone through an extension.
They want Baena to pen fresh terms that would add additional years to his deal. In doing so, Villarreal would raise the level of the release clause in the contract to a figure that better suits a player of Baena’s high potential.
Baena’s stance on that idea isn’t stated in the piece, nor is whether any of the English suitors are considering a January move.
Clearly, this is a story in its infancy. But given Baena’s incredible start to the season, it’s one worth keeping an eye on.
Arsenal and Chelsea plans offer hint
Fabrizio Romano recently claimed the wing is one of two positions Arsenal will seek to address in January. The other is central midfield.
Chelsea, meanwhile, pushed to sign AC Milan’s left winger Rafael Leao in the summer.
The Portuguese international would ultimately remain at the San Siro, though the interest was an indication Chelsea were prepared to spend on their forward line.
What’s more, both clubs bid to sign Raphinha before Barcelona hijacked the move. Raphinha operates primarily on the right side, though that transfer saga was another clue the London pair wanted more firepower.
Liverpool, meanwhile, lost three forwards in the summer. Sadio Mane joined Bayern Munich, while Takumi Minamino and Divock Origi moved to Monaco and Milan respectively.
Replacing that trio were just Darwin Nunez and Fabio Carvalho, meaning Jurgen Klopp is one attacker lighter.
Depth in the forward line hasn’t been a factor in their slow start. However, it will come into focus after the international break when those in Europe play twice a week every week.
Mykahylo Mudryk is another left winger whose future could lay in the Premier League. The Shakhtar Donetsk sensation is on both Liverpool and Arsenal’s radar.