Aston Villa in ‘advanced talks’ to make prime Unai Emery target first January signing, with second bid to be submitted

Unai Emery Credit: Alamy
Unai Emery Credit: Alamy

Aston Villa are getting close to making a La Liga star their first signing of the January transfer window, with club chiefs in ‘advanced talks’ over a deal.

Unai Emery, who was appointed by Villa in October, is hoping to make some changes during the winter window. Since his arrival at Villa Park, the club have been linked with impressive moves for Atletico Madrid star Rodrigo de Paul and Villarreal forward Nicolas Jackson, among others.

But the first player who might join Villa this month is Real Betis left-back Alex Moreno.

On Friday, The Telegraph reporter John Percy revealed Villa had set their sights on Moreno. They have already had one bid rejected for the 29-year-old but are now planning to come back with an improved £12million offer.

Percy says there is confidence among Villa officials that their second proposal of £12m will be enough to reach an agreement.

Fabrizio Romano has also weighed in on the transfer rumour, claiming talks between Villa and Betis to be at an ‘advanced’ stage.

Emery is pushing Villa chiefs to get the deal over the line as he wants to add Moreno to his squad as soon as possible.

The defender will probably be the first of three new arrivals at Villa in January. Percy states Emery wants two more players to join, with one of them being a new winger. These signings will help the Spaniard to imprint his own style on the Villa squad.

Alex Moreno set to link up with Villa after Forest rejection

Moreno almost joined Villa’s Premier League rivals Nottingham Forest in the summer. Steve Cooper’s side agreed on a fee of around £9m for him.

Moreno was due to fly out to Greece for a Forest medical, as this is where Reds owner Evangelos Marinakis is from. But the former Mallorca man opted to stay with Betis.

He has gone on to play 18 times this season. Moreno has helped Betis to reach sixth in La Liga and qualify from Europa League Group C in first place.

Moreno has now decided to leave the Spanish side, though. Perhaps he views Villa as a better project to join than Forest, given their more regular status as a top-flight club in recent years.

The signing of Moreno could result in Emery completing a revamp at left-back. His current options are Lucas Digne and Ludwig Augustinsson.

Digne has far more experience than Augustinsson in the Prem, so it would make sense if Emery sold the latter. This would allow Villa to get some of the money they will have spent on Moreno back.

Moreno could be followed to the West Midlands by a Serie A forward who has history in the Prem. According to recent reports, Villa have made an enquiry about his availability.

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