Sunday, February 5, 2023

Update On Aston Villa And Their Pursuit Of This La Liga Midfielder: What Should Emery Do?

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Abhinab Ghosh
A 26-year-old sports writer and an aspiring football coach who has road-tripped across the Scottish Highlands, but has never been to Wales. Sucker for cliff-hangers and catchy riffs. Known to be a grunger and not to be a stranger.

In a recent report, AS offered an update on Aston Villa and their pursuit of Real Sociedad midfielder Mikel Merino. It has been mentioned that the Villans are eyeing a move for the Spanish talent who has no intention of leaving the San Sebastian outfit during this January transfer window.

Merino’s Encouraging Form In Spanish Football This Season

Merino has enjoyed an impressive campaign at Real Sociedad as he has put in some dominant displays for them in the middle of the park. The 26-year-old has scored two times and earned six assists in 20 appearances for the Spanish club this season across various competitions.

The 11-time Spain international has been a consistent performer for his current club based on his average of 2.4 tackles, 0.9 interceptions, 2.3 clearances, 1.7 shots and 1.4 key passes per game in La Liga. He has even been accurate when distributing the ball from midfield after making 77% of his attempted passes in the Spanish top tier (stats via whoscored).

Merino is under contract at the Reale Arena until the summer of 2025. However, the player has no intention of leaving the Spanish club this month which would make it difficult for Aston Villa to arrange a move for him.

Villa Park
Villa Park

What Should Aston Villa Boss Unai Emery Do With Regards To Merino?

Merino is a good tackler of the ball and can sense the danger well to secure the ball back for his team in the middle of the park. He doesn’t mind clearing his lines when the opposition are on the front foot. Merino is primarily a box-to-box midfielder but can also fill in as a defensive midfielder if his manager tells him to do so.

The Spaniard can even strike the ball with venom and accuracy from long range. He has also got the vision to create some inviting chances for others around him on the attacking third of the pitch.

We can expect Merino to have added more quality to Aston Villa boss Unai Emery‘s midfield department. However, with the player currently not willing to leave Sociedad, the Villans would be better off switching their attention to someone else as they are unlikely to lure him to Villa Park before the end of this month.

The West Midlands club are in dire need to inject more quality into their first XI. However, it seems like Merino is an unrealistic target for them during this winter transfer window.

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