Aston Villa have been a determined force in the January transfer window, with head coach Unai Emery striving to bolster multiple departments of the field, and Real Betis’ budding sensation Luiz Henrique is the latest name to emerge in transfer contention…
As per the Daily Mail’s Dominic King, Villa have seen their willingness to meet the £45m release clause of Athletic Bilbao winger Nico Williams rebuffed by the player’s contingency, with his desire to remain in the Basque Country overpowering the allure of playing under Emery in the Premier League.
The reporter further stated in a tweet that the Midlands outfit have since “enquired” about Henrique’s availability, as he is deemed the optimum alternative to bolster the offensive flanks, with the 22-year-old ace reportedly expected to garner a fee in the region of £20m.
Considering Emery’s clear desire to provide his side with an extra dimension of flair and dynamism in the offensive third, Henrique’s inclusion would likely be a match made in heaven, with one scout report stating that the wily winger puts emphasis on a direct dribbling approach, engaging opposition and looking to bypass even the most resolute backlines with his weaving and slick manoeuvres.
Signing for his La Liga outfit last summer, Henrique has made a steady start to life in Europe, scoring three goals and serving five assists from 17 starts.
Per Sofascore, the “thrilling” gem – as hailed by reporter Graham Hunter – is already averaging 1.7 shots per match and 0.4 key passes, and if this output can see a growth season upon season, then he truly will emerge as one of the most devastating forwards on the European scene.
He could, in fact, become the Villa manager’s next Neymar Jr, who played under the 51-year-old while he took the reins at Paris Saint-Germain.
Emery only managed Neymar for one season, but the results were nothing short of scintillating; over 30 appearances, the Brazilian sensation scored 28 goals and provided 18 assists with the iconic forward basking in one of his most prolific periods under the Spaniard’s wing.
And with Henrique at the maiden period of what might shape into a prosperous future, Villa Park would be the prime location to demonstrate his aptitude and nurture his abilities within a blossoming outfit.
While he has not quite found the clinical prowess that would put him anywhere close to the same conversation as Neymar, his innate dribbling ability and unflinching offensive approach provides the foundation, and if he can see a continuation of his growth across every department, then Emery could indeed wield his next version of the Brazilian icon over the next couple of seasons.