According to a report from the Daily Mail at the end of December, Villa manager Unai Emery has been considering a move for Deulofeu, who has been in electric form over the past few campaigns for Udinese.
Now, transfer insider Pete O’Rourke has hyped up a potential deal with the January transfer window open for business. Speaking to Football FanCast, he waxed lyrical about the ingenuity and fleet-footed ability of Deulofeu, who could strike up a flourishing partnership with Leon Bailey.
When asked about a possible partnership between the two, the reporter said: “I think on paper, both players will definitely add something to Villa’s attacking play. They can both score goals and create goals. And I’m sure the way Emery sets his team up to play he does want skilful wide players. Both players can do that and I think they can provide ammunition for whoever plays.”
Deulofeu has been a creative force on the European scene for some time now, playing for the likes of Everton and Watford in the Premier League, FC Barcelona and FC Sevilla in Spain, and in the Italian Serie A with Udinese, whom he joined for £15m.
It is with the latter, his current team Udinese, that the 28-year-old has been enjoying a prolonged purple patch, scoring 18 goals and assisting 14 more from 67 appearances, including three goals and seven assists this term.
And the Spaniard also happened to enjoy his most prolific creative spell of his career under Emery’s wing, scoring three goals and assisting ten times from just 15 starts for FC Sevilla across all competitions during the 14/15 term, where he also achieved European glory by winning the Europa League.
His natural instinct for providing iron-clad auxiliary to the more direct focal points in his side could pay dividends for Villa, who are in dire need of wily wingers to fortify the early gains made since Emery’s arrival.
Deulofeu’s guile from the wide flanks could provide impactful support to the likes of Bailey, who has somewhat struggled since his £25m arrival from Bayer Leverkusen in 2021.
Bailey’s 1.4 shots per match in the Premier League this season indicate a willingness to make an impact, and his seasonal heat-map, as per Sofascore, indeed illustrates his deployment deep within enemy territory.
However, the 25-year-old has failed to unearth his clinical roots on English soil, and has clinched just the five goals and four assists from 37 appearances for Villa.
In retrospect, the “artist” Deulofeu – as lauded by statistical site Opta – ranks within the top 1% of positionally similar players for progressive passes and shot-creating actions over the past year across Europe’s top five leagues, as per FBref, and could certainly aid the ascension of Bailey’s productivity with his deft, selfless approach.