Aston Villa added to their spending in the January transfer window on Monday as they announced an agreement to sign Jhon Duran from MLS side Chicago Fire on a permanent basis.
The 19-year-old Colombian attacker, who scored eight goals in 14 MLS starts in 2022, has arrived to bolster Unai Emery’s options at the top end of the pitch and he becomes the club’s second addition of the month.
Emery’s first piece of business was to bring in left-back Alex Moreno on a permanent deal from La Liga outfit Real Betis, to compete with Lucas Digne, and the Villans may not be done there.
Villa are reportedly in the market to improve their options in the middle of the park and former Arsenal midfielder Matteo Guendouzi is one of the players on their radar in that area of the pitch.
Last week, journalist Ben Jacobs tweeted: “Aston Villa working on Matteo Guendouzi, who is open to a reunion with Unai Emery. Told Marseille want €50m but Villa’s first offer will be less. Villa looking at €25-30m plus add-ons, as @FabriceHawkins first reported. OM permanently signed Guendouzi for €11m last summer.”
Emery could now sign an upgrade on current Villa midfielder John McGinn by securing a £44m deal to snap up the French international, who he worked with at The Emirates, before the window slams shut at the end of the month.
Guendouzi, who Alan Shearer once lauded as a “warrior” on Match of the Day, could offer far more to the club as a box-to-box player than the Scotland international, based on their respective form over the last 365 days.
As per FBref, the Marseille gem ranks in the top 30% of players in his position for progressive passes, pass completion percentage, non-penalty xG, assists and shot-creating actions per 90 in Europe’s top five leagues over the last year.
Whereas, McGinn does not crack the top 30% in any of those statistics, which indicates that the Frenchman would be an upgrade from an attacking perspective.
The ex-Arsenal dynamo’s impressive attacking talent, which is backed up by his four goals and six assists last term, could elevate the side’s attack and allow them to score more goals, as he finds the back of the net himself and tees up others to score.
Guendouzi, who editor Jack Mendel once hailed as “unreal“, has also averaged a Sofascore rating of 6.93 in Ligue 1 this season, whilst the Villa man has averaged a score of 6.91 in the Premier League.
This shows that the Marseille man has been marginally better in that regard but his attacking attributes, his pre-existing relationship with Emery and the fact that he is five years younger than McGinn could make him an upgrade on the Scotsman in the Villa squad in the immediate and long-term.
The 23-year-old has plenty of time on his hands to continue his development and he could take his game to the next level at Villa Park, which is why he could be an excellent addition to the squad this month.