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Aston Villa: Emery could land his own Haaland in Marcus Thuram

Aston Villa are putting the pieces into place as the Midlands outfit looks to take on a new sheen under the tutelage of Unai Emery, who replaced Steven Gerrard in the managerial position in October, and a certain blazing-hot forward could complete the jigsaw with an imminent arrival.

The outfit have landed upgrades in left-back and in the final third, with Alex Moreno and the young Jhon Duran arriving from Real Betis and Colorado Rapids respectively, but now-established Borussia Monchengladbach phenom Marcus Thuram could find a place in Emery’s plans after intense speculation over his ostensibly forthcoming £10m departure from the German Bundesliga.

In December, 90min reported that Villa were indeed among the interested parties for one of Europe’s most prolific marksmen, who is out of contract at the end of the season and displaying no sign of renewing his terms, but face competition from a score of top outfit’s including the likes of Arsenal and Manchester United.

Villa’s own Haaland

Unequivocally, the signing of Thuram would represent a marked improvement on the current crop at Aston Villa and a clear strategy to craft a squad capable of competing with the Premier League’s big boys.

Villa technical director Johan Lange recently granted the departure of Danny Ings to West Ham United on a £15m deal, with the striker having only scored 14 goals from 52 appearances since his £25m move from divisional rivals Southampton in 2021.

Should Aston Villa sign Marcus Thuram?

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Yes

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This leaves a gaping hole in the frontal department, despite the signing of Jhon Duran – who holds much potential and promise but might need integrating into the squad with care having joined from the MLS and still only 19 years old.

This means that a signing of Thuram’s ilk could still arise, with the French international scoring 13 goals from 17 appearances this season, also serving four assists, with an average league rating of 7.19 this term, as per Sofascore, an indication of the calibre he would bring.

And as recorded by FBref, the clinical “beast” – as hailed by Robin Bairner – ranks among the top 6% of European forwards for non-penalty goals per 90, the top 6% for completed dribbles and the top 15% for touches in the attacking box, illustrating his prowess as a fox in the box.

His pedigree as a premium striker is so great that the site lists Manchester City’s striking sensation Erling Haaland against the £28.1m-rated phenom, with the Norwegian predator having scored an incredible 28 goals from just 25 games for the Premier League giants since his £51m from Borussia Dortmund.

Haaland ranks within the top 1% of forwards for non-penalty goals per 90, while also being in the top 7% for his touches within the offensive penalty area.

However, intriguingly, the 22-year-old ranks among the bottom 14% of forwards for dribbles completed – a favourable statistic when regarding Villa’s interest in Thuram, who can contribute more effectively in the transitional play paramount to Villa’s success, looking to defend in numbers and instigate swift manoeuvres to punish their opposition.

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There is no question that Thuram would bring a sprinkling “world-class” quality – in the words of VfL Wolfsburg’s technical director Marcel Schäfer – to Villa Park, a talisman of truly cataclysmic consequences for backlines, with his blend of pace and physicality attributes that will certainly create a foundation for unmitigated success in claret colours.

With these factors in mind, Emery would be wise to throw the kitchen sink right at the heart of the Gladbach transfer department; Thuram’s unique dynamism, partnered with his contract situation, combine to create a tantalising situation that the Spaniard tactician would be ludicrous to pass up.