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Aston Villa: Emery “interested” in Matteo Guendouzi reunion

Aston Villa boss Unai Emery is seemingly seeking a reunion with Marseille midfielder Matteo Guendouzi this month, having previously coached the Frenchman at Arsenal.

What’s the word?

According to journalist Graeme Bailey, the Midlands side are said to be keen on signing the 23-year-old before the end of the window, albeit with no bid having yet been made for the 6 foot 1 ace.

Writing on Twitter about that interest, the transfer insider stated: “Unai Emery is interested in bringing Matteo Guendouzi to Aston Villa. They have not made an offer to Marseille, who are somewhat reluctant to let him leave just six months after signing him on a permanent deal.”

In the attached piece for 90min, the report suggests that the Ligue 1 outfit do value the former Gunners man at around €50m (£44m), with Igor Tudor’s side showing little desire to sell having only signed the player permanently during the summer.

Bye Bye Nakamba

Although it may well take a sizeable offer to prise Guendouzi from the Stade Velodrome, bringing the £41k-per-week maestro into the fold could well help to hasten the exit of fellow midfielder Marvelous Nakamba, with the Zimbabwean dud having been linked with a departure earlier this season.

The 28-year-old – who made the move to England on a £11m deal back in 2019 – has been on the periphery so far this season having failed to make a single appearance across all fronts, after featuring only 19 times in all competitions last term.

Although that lack of action has been impacted by injury, the former Club Brugge man has rarely been able to establish himself in the side over the past few years, with no goals or assists to his name in 68 outings to date in the claret and blue jersey.

Having been “nowhere near” the matchday squad of late, as per pundit Alan Hutton, it looks as if Nakamba’s days are numbered at Villa Park, with the addition of Guendouzi seemingly the midfield upgrade that the club have been craving.

The latter man has scored three goals and provided three assists in 22 games in all competitions so far this term from his central midfield berth, after previously playing a starring role last season with 19 goal contributions to his name in 56 outings.

The relentless “warrior“, as described by pundit Alan Shearer, is clearly a player who can make an impact in the final third, as he ranks in the top 11% in Europe among those in his position for touches in the attacking penalty area.

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As previously stated, Nakamba is evidently unable to match that creativity and attacking intent, while Guendouzi also offers the benefit of having worked under Emery previously, having featured 66 times under the Spaniard during his time at the Emirates.

It may well prove a difficult deal to get over the line, although the signing of the Marseille man would clearly help to bolster Villa’s midfield options.