Emery steers Aston Villa ahead of Newcastle, West Ham in race for rebellious midfielder

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Aston Villa manager Unai Emery Credit: Alamy
Aston Villa manager Unai Emery Credit: Alamy

Aston Villa are leading the race to sign a former Arsenal midfielder thanks to manager Unai Emery, according to a report.

Emery has overseen major progress at Aston Villa since replacing Steven Gerrard earlier this season. The club are in contention to qualify for European football for the first time in over a decade.

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Therefore, it could be an exciting transfer window for Aston Villa as they aim to continue their progress. One target who remains on their radar is Matteo Guendouzi.

Emery previously worked with Guendouzi during their time together at Arsenal. However, the midfielder was ultimately paid the price for his perceived rebellious nature and was sold by Mikel Arteta.

Guendouzi has got his career back on track with current club Marseille. In turn, he could earn a second chance in the Premier League.

Aston Villa were already looking into a reunion between Emery and Guendouzi in January. As the summer transfer window approaches, they are still keen on a deal.

According to L’Equipe, Aston Villa are the ‘most credible’ suitors for the 24-year-old. However, they face competition from West Ham and Newcastle.

The latter look likely to have Champions League football on offer next season, which might make them an appealing destination. After all, his current club Marseille – presently second in Ligue 1 -are on course to be competing in UEFA’s top tournament next season as well.

Alternatively, a move to West Ham could enable Guendouzi to go back to London. However, it has been a complicated season for the Hammers, whose only route into European football next season would be to win this year’s Europa Conference League.

Aston Villa aiming to win Guendouzi transfer battle

Guendouzi’s existing connection with Emery, though, might prove to be decisive. With that in mind, Aston Villa are apparently in pole position.

In order to sign him, they will have to make an offer of more than €24million (£21.1m). After all, Marseille are aiming to double their original investment in Guendouzi, which was €12m.

His contract at Stade Velodrome is due to last until 2025. However, his current employers might sell him sooner in order to balance the books and regenerate their squad.

Consequently, the stars could be aligning for Aston Villa to get their man. Currently in central midfield, Emery can call upon Boubacar Kamara – who himself they signed from Marseille – Leander Dendoncker, Douglas Luiz, Jacob Ramsey and John McGinn.

READ MORE: Unai Emery eyes prolific Man Utd, Chelsea target with Aston Villa set for summer transformation

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