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Aston Villa interested in Gerard Deulofeu

Aston Villa are on the verge of completing their first signing of the January transfer window with Alex Moreno set to join, but now a new update has emerged on Unai Emery‘s next target.

What’s the latest?

According to Mail Online, Aston Villa are interested in signing Udinese forward Gerard Deulofeu this month.

As per the report, following the impending purchase of Real Betis left-back Moreno, the Villans are set to continue their pursuit of Deulofeu as Emery is keen to add at least one wide-forward to his armoury ahead of the second half of the season.

He’s a huge Ings upgrade

After a disappointing defeat in the FA Cup last weekend against Stevenage at Villa Park, the newly-appointed manager will be wanting to give the supporters something to smile about and look forward to, which by adding high-quality new additions to the squad who can improve the performances on the pitch will definitely do that.

Since arriving at the club in November, Emery has been knocked out of both the FA Cup and Carabao Cup during his seven games in charge, however, in the Premier League the former Arsenal boss is showing his experience in the top flight already beating both Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur – putting Villa into 11th in the league table ahead of their clash with Leeds United later this week.

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If Villa are to compete and climb the table over the second half of the season they will need to improve their goal contributions and attacking threat in general with Chelsea the only team above them matching for the fewest goals (20) in the top half of the table.

As a result, the signing of Deulofeu couldn’t come at a better time for Emery and could be the linchpin in improving the attacking threat to make dreams of European football at Villa Park become a reality in the near future.

The versatile Spaniard – who was previously dubbed “oustanding” by Roberto Martinez – has tallied up 79 goals and 72 assists over 349 club career appearances so far with a goal contribution every 141 minutes which could be a very valuable asset to Emery over the second half of the season and beyond.

In fact, Deulofeu could well be a big upgrade on Danny Ings as there has been a huge dilemma hanging over Villa Park since the arrival of the former Southampton striker. His acquisition has left Ollie Watkins unable to fulfil his potential in the centre-forward role and often moved out of position to accommodate the 30-year-old.

However, following the arrival of Emery, the 27-year-old goal machine has been playing back in his preferred starting role with two assists and one goal scored in his last four appearances, proving how effective he can be when he is deployed in the position he thrives in the most.

When comparing Ings with Deulofeu – who has scored the majority of his goals in the wide-forward positions – this season, it is clear that the Udinese ace could be a better partner to Watkins going forward.

Deulofeu has outperformed Ings in several attributes including assists (6 v 0), pass completion rate (75.2% v 71.8%), shot-creating actions per 90 (6.16 v 1.89), goal-creating actions (9 v 2) and ball recoveries every 90 (3.16 v 2.12).

With that being said, if the powers at Villa Park can strike a deal for Deulofeu alongside Moreno it could be a great window for Emery as he begins to put his own mark on the squad that inspires improvement for the future.