Aston Villa: Grealish 2.0 in Deulofeu

Aston Villa boss Unai Emery has already moved to strengthen his charges with the signing of Spanish defender, Alex Moreno, with the 29-year-old having been snapped up on a £13m deal from Real Betis.

The former Villarreal head coach is no doubt seeking to put his stamp on the current squad at Villa Park, with there seemingly a potential for more new faces to arrive this month.

According to a recent report from the Daily Mail, one player whom Emery is seemingly keen on signing is Udinese star, Gerard Deulofeu, with the fleet-footed winger having previously worked under his compatriot at Sevilla.

The former Watford man –  who made the move to Italy on an initial loan deal back in 2020 – could well be an attainable target with just 18 months remaining on his existing deal, having previously been valued at around £17m during the summer, as per the report.

Journalist Ryan Taylor – speaking to GIVEMESPORT – has now provided an update regarding a potential move for the 28-year-old, with the transfer insider stating that the 5 foot 10 dynamo is a player that Villa are tracking.

Taylor revealed: “Gerard Deulofeu is definitely one where there is interest. He’s done it in the Premier League before with Everton and Watford.

“Although he seems to bounce around clubs, I think Deulofeu is a player that is always going to have that quality. He’s a very direct winger with a decent end product.”

The one-time Barcelona man has warranted such interest as a result of his sparkling form in Serie A so far this season, having scored twice and registered six assists in the Italian top flight so far this term.

That follows his haul of 13 goals and five assists in the league last term, with the £22k-per-week playmaker having thrived since moving away from Vicarage Road just over two years ago.

Bringing such a “quality” asset into the fold – as lauded by former boss Javi Gracia – could well help Emery to find the Villans’ successor to Jack Grealish, with the England international having left a notable void following his £100m exit to Manchester City back in 2021.

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The Birmingham-born hero had provided 75 goal contributions in 213 games for the Midlands outfit in all competitions after rising through the youth ranks, notably chipping in with 18 goal involvements in the Premier League during his final season at the club.

The 27-year-old had emerged as something of a talisman prior to his departure, proving truly influential with his creativity from his left-wing berth, having been lauded for such talents by Italian icon Gianfranco Zola, who previously stated:

“He always creates something important and, again, he never flinches. He always wants the ball and creates. These are qualities that will make him even more outstanding.”

Such traits could well be attributed to the aforementioned Deulofeu, with the former Everton menace also having that ability to create something out of nothing, notably earning praise from BBC Sport’s Phil McNulty for his “genius” goal in the FA Cup semi-final win over Wolverhampton Wanderers back in 2019.

Although currently thriving in a more central role, like the City man the Spaniard has typically done much of his damage throughout his career off the flanks, with the hope being he can replicate such impact amid his potential return to England.

To be able to secure a Grealish-esque talent in the coming weeks would surely represent a truly astute piece of business for Villa and for Emery.