Aston Villa are ‘one step ahead’ of Manchester City and Arsenal and ‘looking to close a deal in January’ for a statement signing from Atletico Madrid, per reports.
It’s been a wildly encouraging start to the new season for Unai Emery and Aston Villa. The club’s mark of 23 Premier League goals has been bettered by only Newcastle (24). Villa currently sit fifth in the table – a position that is likely to result in Champions League qualification ahead of the competition’s extended format for the 2024/25 campaign.
Villa will also be hoping to go deep into the knockout rounds of the Europa Conference League in the new year. Few would bet against Emery’s side repeating West Ham’s heroics of last season and making it back-to-back English winners come June.
But to ensure Villa don’t fall away after Christmas, January reinforcements are being eyed.
Birmingham Live claimed speedy winger Geny Catamo is under consideration at Villa Park. The Sporting Lisbon flyer is also on Fulham’s radar.
A rather more high profile addition could also come on the right flank. Reports out of Spain last month stressed Villa – along with Arsenal and Man City – were sizing up Nahuel Molina.
The 25-year-old is a World Cup winner with Argentina and plies his trade at club level for Atletico Madrid.
Molina has thrived since joining Diego Simeone’s side in the summer of 2022. Atletico paid Udinese a deal worth €15m including add-ons.
Molina is something of an attacking force from deeper positions and has racked up two goals and three assists from wingback this term. He can be deployed as a more traditional right-back or further forward down the right side.
Release clause leaves Atletico Madrid vulnerable
A fresh update from Spain (as cited by Sport Witness), claims Villa are leaving rival suitors in their dust.
Villa are said to have ‘taken the lead in the race’ for Molina and have fixed their gaze on a January move.
Molina’s current contract with Atleti reportedly contains a release clause of just €30m (approx. £26m).
Atleti hope Molina will sign a contract extension that would come with the caveat of the clause being raised, though failure to do so would leave them open to a winter window raid at below market value.
Indeed, it’s suggested Aston Villa aren’t put off by the €30m figure they’d be in line to pay.