Scheming Unai Emery to steal top Man Utd objective with Aston Villa in ‘pole position’ for potential club-record transfer

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Tammy Abraham and Kim Min-jae, Roma vs Napoli Credit: Alamy
Tammy Abraham and Kim Min-jae, Roma vs Napoli Credit: Alamy

Aston Villa are leading Manchester United in the race for a highly rated Serie A star and it could end up being a club-record move for the west Midlands outfit, according to a report.

Villa backed Unai Emery by signing two new players in January, which was the manager’s first transfer window at Villa Park. Left-back Alex Moreno joined the club from Real Betis in a £12.5million deal. Striker Jhon Duran followed Moreno to Villa as he moved in an £18m transfer from MLS outfit Chicago Fire.

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Emery is not done there though and wants more new arrivals at Villa to help him transform the club into a top six side.

Last week, it emerged that Villa are tracking Southampton defender Mohammed Salisu. He will become available for transfer this summer if the Saints are relegated to the Championship.

On Monday, Villa were linked with out-of-contract Liverpool midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Fabrizio Romano has since confirmed that Villa and Brighton are interested in him, while Newcastle have been ruled out of the running.

Emery does not just want to improve his defence and midfield ranks, as he is also searching for a new striker to provide competition for the in-form Ollie Watkins.

READ MORE: Man Utd shoved back to square one in winger pursuit after double Barcelona intervention

And his main target is Roma’s Tammy Abraham. The Englishman was in great form last season, bagging 27 goals to help Roma win the inaugural Europa Conference League and finish sixth in Serie A.

He has not looked himself this term, as only seven goals have come his way. Nevertheless, Abraham remains highly rated among both European clubs and those in the Premier League.

Man Utd could lose out on Serie A man to Villa

Man Utd boss Erik ten Hag is looking at Abraham as a potential solution to his striker problems. After all, the England international will be cheaper to sign than Harry Kane or Victor Osimhen.

But as per Italian outlet Corriere dello Sport (via Sport Witness), Man Utd are lagging behind Villa in the pursuit of Abraham’s signature. Emery’s team are described as being in ‘pole position’ for him.

Emery has told Villa chiefs that the 25-year-old is the main signing he wants to revamp the attack. He has also let them know that Abraham would likely want a return to England, which should make it easier for the club to sort out a contract with him.

Abraham is remaining loyal to Roma for now and has not told them he would like to depart. But Roma supposedly need to raise €50-55m (£44-48m) through player sales this summer to balance the books.

Therefore, if they accept a bid from Villa for Abraham, then the attacker will gladly accept this opportunity to come back to the Prem.

Abraham’s price tag sits at €40m (£35m) currently. However, the report states that if he begins to score goals in the last few months of the campaign, this valuation will shoot up.

Villa could therefore surpass their transfer record when capturing Abraham. Their most expensive signing to date is Emi Buendia, who cost an initial £33m when joining from Norwich, though the deal had the potential to be worth £38m through add-ons.

Abraham should be able to adapt quickly to life at Villa if the transfer reaches completion. He was on loan there during the 2018-19 season, notching 26 goals to help Villa gain promotion to the Prem via the play-offs.

Abraham would love to return to England so he can prove Chelsea wrong for letting him leave. The Blues sold Abraham in August 2021, just five days after breaking their transfer record to snare Romelu Lukaku.

Meanwhile, a Villa star has been accused of faking an injury while on international duty.

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