Aston Villa manager Unai Emery is looking to stamp his authority on his squad after making a promising start to his tenure in the Midlands, and could move for an industrious midfielder this January…
What’s the word?
According to Calciomercato, the Villans are considering a swoop for Juventus star Weston McKennie this month, amid reports of the player’s availability and the Old Lady’s financial difficulties.
Meanwhile, InterLive.it claims that Emery is serious about completing the transfer, and will push to lodge a formal bid in the coming weeks.
Should the pieces fall into place, it will take an offer of at least £22m, as quoted within the aforementioned report, to prise him away from Turin clutches but with Emery aspiring to craft a squad capable of challenging for a European spot and challenging for cup triumph, McKennie might well be enticed by the prospect.
When Steven Gerrard was relieved of his duties as head coach earlier this season after just 11 months in charge, the Villa were gravely concerned about the threat of relegation despite a summer transfer window that saw the club part with roughly £62m.
Since the distinguished Emery has taken the wheel, fortunes have swiftly changed and three wins have been taken from just five Premier League matches with the Spaniard in the dugout, preceded by a 4-0 drubbing over Brentford in the period preceding the new managerial arrival.
These three victories account for half of the total three-point grabs the outfit have taken this term, and the winter transfer market now creates the opportunity to cement the newfound promising position.
By signing McKennie, once lauded as “extraordinary” by the German Bundesliga official website, a new sheen of control would be coated over Villa Park like glimmering lacquer.
The 41-cap USMNT international is tenacious, composed and energetic; he has made 17 appearances for his club this season, scoring three goals – including two in the Champions League – and one assist from his central deployment.
Do you still want McKennie at Villa?
And as per FBref, he ranks within the top 10% of midfielders for non-penalty goals this season, and the top 8% for progressive passes received and touches within the offensive box.
His direct offensive approach, combined with his industrious abilities as a box-to-box midfielder, would indeed give Emery an additional tool to wield, providing solid defensive cover and an attacking threat from behind the frontline.
He could be a stellar addition to the side, an upgrade on the likes of Leander Dendoncker, whose form has yo-yoed since his £13m arrival from Midlands rivals Wolverhampton Wanderers in the summer.
Dendoncker has recorded an average rating of 6.74 in the Premier League this season, starting on just five occasions; McKennie offers a more impressive 6.82, starting on ten occasions in a resurgent Juve team that currently perches in third place with six successive victories.
Once hailed as a “monster in the air” by CBS Sports reporter Wes Rucker, the 24-year-old machine would bolster the Villa Park centre and provide an all-encompassing presence to lift the club to new heights under the tutelage of the ambitious Emery.