Journalist Report: Aston Villa Could Sign Saka and Palmer Hybrid Described ‘one of the best in the world’.

Unai Emery can be quite pleased with Aston Villa’s 2023/24 season as it nears its conclusion, with only the Champions League final between Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund left.


Aston Villa secured fourth place in the Premier League, narrowly edging out Tottenham Hotspur by just two points. Ange Postecoglou’s Tottenham finished fifth and could have overtaken Villa if they had won their game in hand against Manchester City.

In domestic cup competitions, Villa fell short of winning any trophies. They were eliminated in the Carabao Cup third round by Everton and in the FA Cup fourth round by Chelsea after a replay.

In Europe, Villa reached the Europa Conference League semi-finals but were eliminated by Olympiacos, losing 4-2 at home and 2-0 away.

Despite these setbacks, it was a strong season for Villa, who now look forward to Champions League football next season. The upcoming summer transfer window will be crucial for squad improvements, and they have already been linked with potential signings.

Villa is reportedly interested in former Leeds United winger Raphinha, currently with Barcelona. Villa, along with Chelsea and Manchester United, are pursuing the 27-year-old Brazil international.

A Spanish report indicates that last January, Barcelona rejected a £51 million offer, potentially from Villa, with additional clauses that could increase the fee.

New Barcelona manager Hansi Flick, known for his success with Bayern Munich, wants to retain Raphinha but may reconsider depending on other signings. Barcelona’s financial difficulties mean they might sell Raphinha to fund their transfer targets.

Raphinha would enhance Villa’s attack, which already features Ollie Watkins, Morgan Rogers, and Leon Bailey. Watkins had an outstanding 2023/24 season with 19 goals and 13 assists in 37 games.

Raphinha also had a good season at Barcelona, scoring six goals and providing nine assists in 28 La Liga matches, along with seven goal involvements in the Champions League. He is a creative winger who excels in half-spaces and setting up opportunities for teammates like Robert Lewandowski.

According to Fbref, Raphinha has similar creative stats to Premier League stars Cole Palmer and Bukayo Saka. Raphinha averages 0.59 assists per 90 minutes, compared to Saka’s 0.28 and Palmer’s 0.38, and has 2.70 key passes per 90 minutes, slightly less than Saka’s 2.81 but more than Palmer’s 2.47. In passes into the penalty box, Palmer leads with 2.37, followed by Saka at 2.25, and Raphinha at 2.11.

These stats highlight the quality Raphinha would bring to Villa. Although the £51 million fee is significant, it could be a smart investment for Emery’s team.

It remains uncertain if the deal will go through, but Villa fans can look forward to the potential addition of a highly talented player, as described by Raphinha’s former manager Xavi.


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