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Aston Villa: Unai Emery plotting Marcus Thuram bid

Aston Villa are plotting a move to bring Marcus Thuram to Villa Park in the January transfer window.

What’s the talk?

That’s according to a report by The Express, who claim that Unai Emery is targeting the signing of a wide forward ahead of the second half of the 2022/23 Premier League campaign, with the Spaniard said to have already held ‘extensive talks’ with the Villa hierarchy regarding the club’s recruitment plan for the winter market.

The report goes on to state that the 51-year-old has identified the Borussia Monchengladbach attacker as one of his primary targets in January, with the France international likely to be available on a cut-price €20m (£17m) deal due to his current contract with the Bundesliga side set to expire in the summer of 2023.

However, the Premier League side are not thought to be alone in their interest in the forward, with both Bayern Munich and Inter Milan also reported to be keeping a close eye on the situation of the 25-year-old ahead of launching a potential swoop of their own in the coming weeks.

Absolute steal

Considering the remarkable form Thuram has been in for Gladbach in recent seasons, should Emery manage to fight off the likes of Bayern and Inter in landing the £17m signing of the forward this winter, it would not only represent a huge coup for a club of Villa’s current standing, but also an absolute steal for the Spaniard and his side.

Indeed, according to FBref, the £26m-rated talent ranks in the top 9% of forwards in Europe’s big five leagues for non-penalty goals per 90, in addition to the top 5% for non-penalty xG, the top 9% for shots and the top 23% for shot-creating actions over the last 365 days – highlighting just how deadly the Frenchman is in the final third.

FBref also rank the £53k-per-week attacker in the top 7% of forwards for dribbles completed per 90, as well as the top 9% for touches in the opposition penalty area, the top 38% for passes completed and the top 9% for interceptions over the past 12 months – proving the striker is capable of progressing the ball, retaining possession and regaining possession.

Putting these metrics into context, over Thuram’s 15 Bundesliga so far this season, he has already bagged 10 goals, provided three assists and created three big chances for his teammates, in addition to taking an average of 3.7 shots – 2.0 of which have hit the target – making 0.9 key passes and completing 1.5 dribbles per game.

These returns have seen the forward who Denis Zakaria dubbed “crazy” average a simply sensational Sofascore match rating of 7.19, not only ranking him as Gladbach’s fourth-best performer in the league but also as the joint 23rd-best player in the top flight of German football as a whole.

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Furthermore, while the seven-cap international has predominantly featured as an out-and-out number nine in the current campaign, the 25-year-old is also more than capable of doing a job on the flank, having scored 23 goals and registered three assists from 92 appearances on the left, as well as scoring two in six on the right.

As such, taking into account Thuram’s ability to play anywhere across a front three, his deadly form in the final third and the fact he looks to be available for a figure almost £10m less than his current market valuation, it is clear to see that the £17m signing of the Frenchman would indeed be an absolute steal for Emery and Villa in January.