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Aston Villa could make shock swoop for Hakim Ziyech

Aston Villa have been linked with a host of names this winter, with head coach Unai Emery looking to bolster the squad across multiple departments, and now Chelsea’s Hakim Ziyech could be targeted following a recent report…

What’s the word?

Chelsea’s Ziyech arrived at Stamford Bridge for £33m in January 2020, but has since failed to cement a regular starting role within the club despite his abundance of flair and guile, and Villa are indeed among the interested suitors.

That’s according to The Athletic, who state that Emery is after a striker and a winger before the close of the window, with Ziyech being someone the manager admires.

With Lyon talisman Moussa Dembele reportedly a further player of interest at Villa Park, a swoop for the wily Moroccan could be the icing on the cake, with the Spaniard Emery thus wielding what could sharpen into a truly devastating offence.

Big Coutinho upgrade

Considering the calibre of creativity that brims from Ziyech’s boots, it would be ludicrous for Aston Villa to fail to even attempt to land the signature of one of the Premier League’s most naturally talented outlets.

The report continues that Udinese’s former Emery favourite Gerard Deulofeu is also of interest, following previous news on the player’s prospective transfer to the Midlands, but the hierarchy must carefully consider their options, and if Ziyech’s availability indeed bobs to the surface, swift action must be taken.

At the 2022 World Cup, where Ziyech served as a centrepiece in Morocco’s monumental fourth-place finish, his calibre was on full show once again, with the star recording an average Sofascore rating of 6.91 having clinched a goal and an assist, also unleashing 1.6 shots per game and one key pass, while displaying his defensive prowess with a stunning 1.4 tackles and interceptions each outing.

It is this level of tenacity that will leave him in superb stead to shine under Emery’s wing, with Villa building the blocks for a unit of genuine quality, perhaps even pushing for a coveted European spot across the next several seasons.

As per FBref, the monster” – as lauded by Squawka – ranks among the top 12% of attacking midfielders and wingers in Europe’s top five leagues for total shots, the top 10% for passes completed, the top 14% for progressive passes and the top 15% for tackles – and it is indeed this all-encompassing scope of skill that has left the Claret & Blue boss enticed.

He is a comparable player to Villa’s Philippe Coutinho, who has been woeful this term, and could represent a marked improvement on a formerly sensational ace who has one eye on his outfit’s exit door, according to Goal.

The 30-year-old South American joined the club in an £18m after initially joining on loan last winter, but has failed to make a goal contribution this season from 19 displays, recording an average league rating of 6.61, his departure might indeed be forthcoming.

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The 50-cap phenom that is Ziyech is falling out of favour at Chelsea, still exhibiting his quality, but likely requiring an exit if he wishes to rekindle his talismanic aura, and at Villa Park the perfect stomping ground arises.

With Coutinho indeed bearing much semblance to his positional peer, there is no question that Villan technical director Johan Lange must make a swoop; the beleaguered Brazilian is indeed floundering and might depart this year, and the £22m-rated Ziyech could slot right into a Coutinho shaped hole and finally give the outfit the fluid ingenuity to unlock the door to success.