The onus for the Villans is seemingly on sign wide attackers, and with good reason. With Bertrand Traore and Anwar El Ghazi both departing the club in the summer, there is perhaps a lack of fluidity and guile down the wings, with Leon Bailey arguably their only true natural wide player.
The likes of Udinese’s Gerard Deulofeu and Villarreal’s Samuel Chukwuezehave been touted in the build-up to the ongoing January transfer market, but it is long-term target Ismaila Sarr who could provide the greatest touch of flair to this ambitious Villa outfit.
According to reports stemming from Spain, Aston Villa saw a bid rejected for the Watford phenomenon in the days prior to the ongoing January transfer window, with Emery looking to take advantage of his first transfer window with the Midlands club.
In the summer, then-Villa manager Steven Gerrard agreed a £25m move to bring the Senegalese hotshot to Villa Park following Watford’s relegation from the top flight, but with several walls proving to be insurmountable in the negotiations regarding personal terms and structure, the transfer collapsed.
With a new manager at the helm, indeed a figure of European-winning pedigree who would not look out of place at any Champions League hopeful that the Premier League has to offer, Villa are emboldened in the pursuit of top-class talent to bolster the chances of rising up the table.
Having already won three of their five Premier League matches with Emery in charge, losing only to Liverpool, the Villans are already on an upward trajectory, establishing the groundwork to pave the way for a brighter future.
With the prospective addition of Sarr into the fold, there could be a marked improvement on offensive firepower, an added dimension to act as a destructive force for the aspiring Midlands club.
This season, Sarr has six goals and five assists from 21 league appearances, and with Watford currently fourth in the Championship after 26 matches, his attacking prowess has been pivotal in the Hornets’ quest to return to the top flight at the first time of asking.
As per Sofascore, Sarr’s 2.1 shots per match and four big chances created, along with 0.9 key passes per game, would be a fine addition to the Villa ranks, with his blend of direct firepower and creative ingenuity the requisite tools for a club to ascend the table and push for a coveted European place.
He could take the baton from beloved former Aston Villa maestro Jack Grealish, who left the club for Manchester City for a British record transfer fee of £100m in 2021.
In his final season for the Villans, Grealish recorded a remarkable Sofascore rating of 7.54 in the league, averaging 1.9 shots and an incredible 3.2 key passes per game in creating a veritable wealth of opportunities for his team to flourish, and Sarr must look to emulate this level of performance if he comes to Villa Park.
As per FBref, the England ace ranks within the top 3% of positional peers in Europe’s top five leagues in 2022 for pass completion, the top 3% for touches in the attacking penalty area and the top 10% for shot-creating actions over the past year – an illustration of his world-class impact on his team’s offensive play.
Hailed as an “unbelievable talent” by Watford legend Troy Deeney, Sarr will surely be desperate to play at the top level once more, with his footballing skills and fearsome physicality tools which would serve Emery well, so Villa simply need to try again for the Senegal wizard and hopefully get a deal over the line this time.