Aston Villa are interested in signing Angers SCO midfielder Azzedine Ounahi, and could make a move for the maestro before the closing of the January transfer window in less than two weeks time.
The Moroccan gem was integral in his nation’s stunning 2022 World Cup campaign, conducting the play from middle and flourishing as his side became the first ever African country to reach the semi-finals of the prestigious global tournament.
Subsequently, a whole host of the aspiring side’s expressed interest in his services, with Villa boss Unai Emery indeed among the suitors, according to Italian journalist Ciro Venerato (via Sport Witness), with a fee within the region of €25m (£22m) required to prise him away.
Venerato said: “These are decisive days for the Moroccan midfielder. The president of Angers left for England yesterday [Monday] and it seems that he is talking to Aston Villa who received a no from the Juventus player, McKennie, two days ago, more than Leeds.”
The 22-year-old, who has made 48 appearances for his French outfit, has maintained an average career passing accuracy of 87.3%, as per WhoScored, also displaying his versatility with 0.8 key passes and 1.4 dribbles per match.
As per FBref, the dynamo ranks among the top 1% of midfielders for completed dribbles over the past year, the top 6% for touches in the penalty area, the top 4% for progressive passes received and the top 16% for total shots, illustrating the creative flair and offensive onus that would only enhance the ambitious Villa ranks in the pursuit of a top-half league finish this season.
With such innate gliding runs and regular surging dashes into the danger area, Villans might kind added incentive in seeing the club acquire the signature of one of the game’s rising stars by considering the similarities the ace has to former phenom and immensely endeared figure Jack Grealish, who departed his boyhood club for Manchester City in a British-record £100m deal in 2021, following a monumental talismanic career at Villa Park.
Grealish’s weaves and trickery, bypassing resolute backlines and leaving defenders dazed and spluttering in his wake all combined to craft one of the most arresting figures that the Claret & Blue has seen for a long time, with his pivotal involvement in leading the club back to the Premier League from the second tier in 2019 and rising back to a respectable standing within the top-flight leaving his name etched in the outfit’s folklore.
The “revelation” that is Ounahi – as lauded by talent scout Jacek Kulig – typically plays a more central role, but with his brimming guile and ingenuity with the ball at his feet, he too can mould a successful stay with the two-time European champions, providing the spark from the heart of Emery’s set-up to make a difference in the fight to break away from mediocrity.
With his stellar showings for club and country, with the former riddled with worries regarding their bottom-placed seat in the French Ligue 1, he has proved that he is an ace with the world at his feet, and should Villa technical director Johan Lange succeed in making a breakthrough in negotiations, Emery could have his very own Grealish to send the Villan faithful into rapture.