What’s the word?
According to a report from the Daily Mail at the end of December, Emery has been urging his technical director Johan Lange to make a move for Deulofeu, who has undergone something of a resurgence since joining his current Serie A outfit in 2020.
And now, speaking to GIVEMESPORT, prominent transfer guru Fabrizio Romano has shed some further light on the potential movement, stating that the Villans are indeed pushing for a move, but have been met with resistance from the Little Zebras.
Romano said: “They really appreciate Deulofeu, another player appreciated by the coach Unai Emery, but at the moment Udinese really want to keep Deulofeu until the end of the season. So not an easy one, but I’m sure that Villa also will be busy with two or three more signings.”
Ashley Young reborn
Emery has won five of his seven matches in the Premier League since arriving at Villa Park in October, and while his side have indeed fallen from both the FA Cup and the Carabao Cup, there has been a swift and discernible difference to both form and results since the 3-0 defeat to newly-promoted Fulham that instigated the dismissal of Steven Gerrard.
On the transfer front, Alex Moreno and Jhon Duran have been acquired to provide a boost to the defensive and offensive departments, but a winger of top-class quality would go a long way towards providing the sheen to ensure the Midlands outfit push for a top-half finish this season, perhaps even reaching as far as the upper third of the table, clinching European football next term.
And with the creative ingenuity of Deulofeu, this could certainly be established; having recently sold Danny Ings to West Ham United for £15m, Villa will likely move for a centre-forward, with the likes of Moussa Dembele touted, and the wily winger’s inclusion would stamp success firmly into proceedings.
Having made 68 appearances for Udinese, the former Everton and Watford “genius” – as once hailed by BBC Sport writer Phil McNulty – has scored 18 goals and 14 assists, including a return of ten direct contributions from 16 starts this season.
And as per FBref, he ranks within the top 5% of his positional peers across Europe’s top five leagues for rate of assists and the top 15% for progressive passes and shot-creating actions, illustrating his superlative technique and efficacy in the final third, which would only enhance Villa’s prospects.
He could emulate Ashley Young, with the 37-year-old veteran currently enjoying his second spell with the Claret & Blue, having previously played for the outfit between 2007 and 2012.
With Young’s career defined by his wand of a delivery and selfless service for his teammates, the £22k-per-week Deulofeu would be wise to copy the blueprint and shower success on the team as they look to continue the ascension back towards prominence.
Indeed, the Spaniard appears just as creative as Young several years ago, with the former England international ranking in the top 10% of full-backs in the 2017/18 Premier League campaign for goal-creating actions, the top 3% for expected assists and the same percentage for crosses into the penalty area.
As such, Villa technical director Johan Lange would do well to ensure Emery clinches his reunion with his former Sevilla ace, offering a layer of creativity and flair that could play a part in clinching European qualification at Villa Park once again, much like it did during Young’s first successful spell in the famous claret shirt.