‘Agent’ Emi Martinez key as Villa edge Tottenham for star who’s stolen Alexis Sanchez nickname

Julian Alvarez of Argentina takes a free kick during the FIFA U-20 World Cup against Portugal

Aston Villa are reportedly fast emerging as favourites to land one of Argentina’s brightest young talents – thanks, in no small part, to Villans goalkeeper Emi Martinez.

Dean Smith’s side have invested wisely in recent windows. Striker Ollie Watkins scored 16 goals in his debut campaign after joining from Brentford in September last year.

The Villans also brought in Matty Cash from Nottingham Forest that month. He has become their first-choice right-back and scored in the recent 3-0 victory over Everton.

This summer, Villa were boosted by the arrivals of Emi Buendia, Danny Ings, Leon Bailey and Ashley Young. They all look set to play an important role as Villa fight for a top 10 finish.

Now it looks like club chiefs are already looking ahead to the 2022 transfer windows.

To that end, Villa were reported to be competing with AC Milan for River Plate attacker Julian Alvarez.

The 21-year-old has already notched seven goals in 11 league appearances this term.

However, it seems the pair are not alone in their pursuit of Alvarez.

As per Calciomercato, Bayer Leverkusen, Borussia Dortmund, Sevilla and Tottenham are also in the hunt.

The forward, however, reportedly prefers a switch to the Premier League. And to that end, Villa are seemingly ahead of Spurs in the race.

Spurs joined by Arsenal in pursuit of Ollie Watkins

Spurs are said to be joined by north London rivals Arsenal in their pursuit of Aston Villa forward Ollie Watkins, with more updates on Nuno Espirito Santo and Italy striker Andrea Belotti.

That’s because Villa keeper Martinez is reported to have spoken warmly with Alvarez about life at Villa Park.

Villa first targeted the Argentine in July. They entered transfer discussions but could not complete a deal.

However, with his deal expiring at the end of the season, Villa are reportedly preparing a fresh approach.

And while he has a £21m release clause in his contract, he looks likely to move for significantly less.

Assessing who will be the next Premier League manager to get the sack

Alvarez inherits Alexis Sanchez nickname

With 11 goals and 11 assists in his last 35 appearances, it’s clear to see why Alvarez is a man in demand.

Indeed, Alvarez impressed again this weekend, scoring a double as rivals Boca Juniors were beaten 2-1.

As a result, his River Plate teammate Nicolas De La Cruz has now branded Alvarez ‘El Nino Maravilla’ – which translates to ‘The Wonder Child’.

The moniker previously described Alexis Sanchez during his formative years in Chile.

He has since gone on to enjoy a great career, with spells at Barcelona, Arsenal, Manchester United and Inter Milan.

And while the Chilean now seems past his best, if Alvarez turns out to be as good as ‘peak Sanchez’, then his next club are sure to reap the benefits.

Now Villa will hope the Martinez connection proves key and Smith can add another option to Villa’s attack.

READ MOREVilla star tipped for Man Utd is ‘comfortably better’ than duo Solskjaer likes