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Aston Villa: Emery could land his next Xhaka in Matteo Guendouzi

Aston Villa are on the right track under head coach Unai Emery, who has staved off the threat of relegation following his appointment in the stead of the dismissed Steven Gerrard in October, and impactful moves are being made in the transfer department.

The Villans have won four of their six Premier League outings since the 51-year-old’s arrival, losing only to Liverpool in the top flight under him, and they have recently displayed a level of tenacity which had been conspicuous by its absence earlier in the campaign.

However, in order to glue together the underlying components which are necessary for success, Emery is bolstering the squad across multiple departments; left-back Alex Moreno has already been signed from Real Betis in a £13.2m deal, and there is an emphasis on fortifying the wide attacking options.

That said, midfield acquisition would also go a long way to instilling control and an iron-clad resolve into the team, with French outlet Foot Mercato recently reporting that Villa are interested in a move for Marseille’s Matteo Guendouzi, who is valued at €30m+ (£26.6m).

He is a player that Emery will know well, with the seven-cap Frenchman making 66 appearances during his time at Arsenal under the current Villa boss.

Both failed to have a lasting impact with the Gunners, with Emery sacked after 18 months and the 23-year-old sold to his current club for £9m after making an initial loan move permanent, having fallen foul of Mikel Arteta.

However, with a move to Villa Park and a potential reunion with his former boss, Guendouzi could continue his rise and emulate the success of Granit Xhaka, who has blossomed in recent months after previous indiscretions.

The Swiss midfielder made 51 appearances under Emery at Arsenal, scoring four goals and providing six assists, but has since made positive increments to his game to now stand as one of the most pivotal players for the current Premier League leaders.

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As per FBref, Xhaka ranks within the top 10% of midfielders for shot-creating actions and touches in the attacking penalty area, and also within the top 19% for progressive passes among positional peers in Europe’s top five leagues over the past 12 months.

With Guendouzi the most comparable player to the Switzerland international according to FBref, Emery will be licking his lips when pondering the effect that the Marseille ace could have with a move to Villa.

Xhaka, who signed for Arsenal for a reported £35m in 2016 from Bundesliga outfit Borussia Monchengladbach, has indeed blossomed into one of Europe’s foremost midfield generals.

Guuendouzi, who has previously been lauded for his “world-class potential” by talent scout Jacek Kulig, appears to have the tools to emulate his positional peer and former Arsenal team-mate, and he could spearhead Villa’s ascension to prominence under Emery if NSWE bring him back to England.

Would Guendouzi start for Villa?

Yes

Yes

No

No