It’s not a great feeling for Villa supporters sitting on the sidelines while the rest of the Premier League kicks off the season, but having over an extra week before Aston Villa make their 2020/21 season bow, serves up several advantages for the club and Dean Smith in terms of getting their ducks in a row, transfer-wise.
Return for Rashica?
Villa’s chase for Aston Villa Werder Bremen winger Milot Rashica seemed to have died a few weeks ago, with it looking like he was destined to end up at RB Leipzig. The allure of Champions League football seemed to have convinced Rashica that was his best move, but it seems according to reports, Leipzig have stalled on firming up any offer.
The desired fee was thought to be in the region of £13.8m, but now Villa are reported to have emerged with an alleged tabled offer of £18.5m to change hearts and minds to make Villa Park the Kosovo international’s best destination.
The money is obviously tempting for Bremen, as is the fact that Rashica wouldn’t then line up against them in the Bundesliga.
The 24-year-old is said to be very open to testing himself in the Premier League and would have the bonus of teaming up with his old Vitesse teammate Marvelous Nakamba.
For Villa, it’s a promising young player who fits the mould of player their after, that also doesn’t upset the club’s wage structure.
Certainly from Villa’s point of view, the addition of the pace and the direct wide threat Rashica potentially can bring to Villa’s attack, is an attractive proposition worth pursuing. If he adapts well to the English game, it may also offer up the prospect of Jack Grealish playing more as a No.10.
If Villa do succeed in getting the deal done this weekend, then the bonus bye week at the start of this season would prove very beneficial in helping Rashica make his move.
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A more solid transfer development has been the quest for Emiliano Martinez, which with the Arsenal keeper’s admittance from the Gunner’s squad in their opening 3-0 win against Fulham, seems to signal it’s deal done for the keeper.
With a fee believed to be potentially rising to £20m with add-ons, eyebrows have been raised at the amount considering the Argentinian keeper has been back-up for most of his time, during a decade at Arsenal. Indeed, he’s spent most of his Arsenal career out on loan.
Martinez only actually came to prominence during the restart period last season and most recently in Arsenal’s FA Cup and Community Shield wins. His previous first team Premier League appearance for the Gunners had been back in the 2016–17 season.
Would he have cost the same for Villa in June of this year? No way.
Still, it’s very much a case of opportunity knocks for Martinez, after Arsenal number one Bernd Leno went off injured against Brighton in the restart period.
Despite the fee, it looks to be a win-win-win deal for the player, Arsenal and Villa.
Dean Smith really needs two top keepers battling for the Villa keeper’s jersey, considering Tom Heaton’s recent injury woes. Top clubs should boast two potential number ones, rather than having number two’s that would weaken the first XI, when they step in.
The only question mark for Martinez is his best work has been done recently, when there’s been no crowds at games. Whether ultimately the added pressure of crowds will have any impact is unlikely, as he’s experienced enough. But it’s a point worth considering.
By the looks of the media coverage of the deal, so far, it seems an announcement could be made by Villa on Monday.
If Martinez doesn’t get a run out against Burton in the League Cup on Tuesday (unlikely, unless the deal is done, but under wraps at the moment), then you’d think he should start against Sheffield United in Villa’s Premier League season opener.