The details of how Aston Villa beat Tottenham to a player that received ‘overwhelmingly positive’ reviews from their recruitment team have been revealed.
With the departure of Jack Grealish one of football’s worst kept secrets, Villa flexed their financial muscles prior to the talisman’s departure this summer. Emiliano Buendia arrived for £35m after Dean Smith’s side impressively saw off competition from Arsenal.
That was followed by the twin arrivals of Leon Bailey and Danny Ings the day before Grealish officially departed. But one signing that has gone under the radar was that of ex-Northampton forward, Caleb Chukwuemeka.
The 19-year-old had emerged as a target for Tottenham and was the subject of a swap proposal.
However, Chukwuemeka would ultiamely spurn the North London club in favour of joining Villa for an undisclosed fee.
Online outlet Football Insider have now revealed details of how Villa were able to hijack the move.
Firstly, it’s acknowledged Spurs’ interest was genuine. The youngster reportedly ‘impressed Spurs recruitment adviser David Pleat’. The ex-Tottenham boss is said to have provided ‘overwhelmingly positive feedback’ on Chukwuemeka.
Additionally, Tottenham were believed to be well positioned to land the forward after offering to soften the blow by sending Kion Etete to Northampton on loan.
Etete would go on to make that switch, though Chukwuemeka would wind up at Villa.
It’s claimed their willingness to offer a ‘lucrative professional contract’ swayed the attacker. Furthermore, moving to Villa allowed him to reunite with his younger brother Carney.
Chukwuemeka has already made an immediate impact in his new surroundings. Despite being placed in the club’s Under-23s to compete in the Premier League 2, he was afforded a chance to shine in the EFL Cup.
Chukwuemeka took that chance with both hands when impressing in their 6-0 victory over Barrow in late-August.
PSG ramp up Tottenham target pursuit
Meanwhile, PSG have made contact with Spurs-linked Franck Kessie over an AC Milan transfer, according to reports.
Kessie is in the final year of his contract with Milan and has shown a reluctance to renew at present. It could lead to an opportunity in the market for several clubs. Tottenham Hotspur are among the Ivorian’s leading suitors.
In fact, Monday’s Paper Talk reported a possible swap deal between Spurs and Milan involving Kessie and Tanguy Ndombele, who is not in Nuno Espirito Santo’s plans but failed to seal an exit this summer.
However, it came with the reminder that PSG are also heavily interested in Kessie – and there has been some development on that front. According to French source Foot Mercato, Paris have initiated contact with both Kessie and his club.
First, they have been working on convincing the player himself – and his agent. On offer is a contract worth €9m per season. That is is higher than Milan’s most recent renewal offer of €6.8m per annum.
Then, they have been discussing a potential deal with his current club. The idea of a transfer materialising in January cannot be ruled out, despite the prospect of them securing a pre-contract agreement with Kessie and signing him for free in the summer.
There has been a conversation between Leonardo and Paolo Maldini – who represent PSG and Milan respectively, but used to work together for the latter, as players and directors – over Kessie’s potential January transfer.