Aston Villa ‘in talks’ over stunning Liverpool hijack, with midfield steal phase one of huge £200m spending spree
Aston Villa are plotting a mammoth £200m spend on transfers this summer and a report has claimed first up is a Liverpool-linked midfielder who has a €60m release clause.
Villa have taken great strides forward since Unai Emery took charge. Indeed, the Midlands club have won 13 of 22 league matches since the Spaniard’s arrival. That’s put them in contention for a European place, though back-to-back defeats have dampened their hopes.
Regardless, the incoming arrival of football director Mateu Alemany from Barcelona is poised to be the spark that ignites a colossal summer spend.
That’s according to the Sun who report Villa could fork out as much as £200m on new players for Emery. First up, per the newspaper, could be Liverpool-linked Manuel Ugarte.
The Sporting midfielder, 22, holds a release clause within his contract worth €60m (approx. £52m).
Portuguese outlet Record claimed Liverpool were preparing to make their move and submit an offer. They stated the Reds would thunder in with a bid below Ugarte’s release fee in the hopes of securing a discount first.
Adding fuel to the fire was a claim from Uruguayan journalist Rodrigo Romano who reported Liverpool were ‘advancing’ in their quest to sign Ugarte.
However, Aston Villa could nip in and punish any Liverpool hesitation over meeting the full release clause.
Aston Villa open Manuel Ugarte talks
The Sun report Alemany is keen to hit the ground running at Villa Park and talks over a Ugarte coup have already begun.
Ugarte has been likened to Fulham’s one-man wrecking ball, Joao Palhinha. The Portuguese has been an attacker’s worst nightmare in the Fulham engine room this season and leads all Premier League in successful tackles.
Palhinha’s mark of 139 is made all the more impressive by the fact second place on the list – Brighton’s Moises Caicedo – is a whopping 46 tackles behind.
Ugarte is cut from the same cloth as Palhinha, with the Uruguay international emerging as one of the finest No 6’s in the world game. Expertly shielding the Sporting defence, he average 4.3 tackles per game and also has a 90.2% passing success rate.
By contrast, Liverpool’s current No 6, Fabinho – whom many see as a fading force – has averaged just 1.8 successful tackles per game this season.
The Sun acknowledge Liverpool’s interest in the player and also put Newcastle in the mix. However, it’s Aston Villa and Alemany who have taken the early steps towards forging a deal.
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