Smith explains why club-record Buendia signing is ‘exciting’ for Aston Villa

Emi Buendia, Norwich training kit

Emiliano Buendia has completed his move to Aston Villa after putting the finishing touches to the deal.

Villa announced on Monday that they had reached an agreement with Norwich City for the attacking midfielder. Buendia is currently away on international duty with Argentina and was waiting to complete his medical and agree personal terms. Now, those final hurdles have been overcome.

It is a club-record transfer for Villa, surpassing the £30m addition of Ollie Watkins from Brentford last summer.

Buendia has signed a five-year contract, the club confirmed, and will provide an extra attacking dimension to a side that has been somewhat reliant on the likes of Watkins and Jack Grealish.

Head coach Dean Smith is looking forward to working with Buendia and explained his best qualities to the club website.

Smith said: “Emiliano has just completed an outstanding season in a Championship-winning Norwich side with 31 combined goals and assists and was named player of the season across the league.

“He is equally capable as a wide attacker or as a number 10 and is a great addition to our attacking options.

“We are delighted to have made such an exciting signing so early in the summer and look forward to Emi joining up with us for a full pre-season.”

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Villa outbid Arsenal to secure the signing of Buendia, on whom Norwich have made a tidy profit. The Canaries signed him for just £1.6m in 2018.

He was one of their standout players the last time they were in the Premier League and continued his fine form to help them back up. But he will not be staying for their top-flight return, as he is now a Villa player.

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Busy summer ahead for Villa

The addition of Buendia is an exciting one for Villa. They will hope it is the precursor to many more this summer.

Smith led them to an 11th-place finish in 2020-21. That was a vast improvement on the prior campaign when they narrowly avoided relegation.

They struggled in the absence of Grealish last season. But they now seem to have addressed that issue and will turn their focus to other targets.

For example, a recent report suggested they were leading the race for a Premier League striker who was his club’s player of the year.