Thursday, February 9, 2023

Update On Aston Villa And Their Pursuit Of This Serie A 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 print edition, Corriere Torino provided an update on Aston Villa and their pursuit of Juventus midfielder Weston McKennie. It has been revealed that Juve are unwilling to let the United States midfield ace leave this month.

McKennie’s Impressive Run Of Form At The Allianz Stadium

The 24-year-old has caught the eye at times while performing at the centre of the Italian club’s midfield. McKennie has found the back of the net on three occasions and picked up one assist in 19 matches for Juve this season across all fronts.

The Texas-born talent has anchored the midfield well at times and has proven his worth by averaging 1.2 tackles, 1.0 interceptions, 0.6 clearances and 0.8 shots per 90 minutes in the UEFA Champions League. He has even been excellent when distributing the ball from midfield after making 78.2% of his attempted passes in top-flight football (stats via whoscored).

McKennie is under contract at the Turin club until the summer of 2025. Thus, it would be difficult for the Villans to convince Juve to part ways with their prized asset before the end of this month.

Villa Park
Villa Park

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

McKennie is a good tackler of the ball and can sense the danger quickly to earn possession back for his side at the centre of the park. He doesn’t mind clearing the danger when needed and can play his way out from midfield. McKennie is primarily a central midfielder but can also fill in as a wide player on either flank if his manager asks him to do so.

However, the United States sensation has to find a way to improve his productivity in front of the opponent’s goal. He is currently trying to establish himself as an important member of Juve’s first XI and could struggle to perform at a high level in the Premier League if the Villans managed to land him this month.

McKennie would have added some much-needed quality to Unai Emery’s midfield. However, Juventus are unwilling to let him go which doesn’t bode well for Aston Villa’s chances of recruiting him.

At 24, McKennie has got a bright future ahead as long as he improves his all-around game with each year. However, he seems like an unrealistic option for the Villans at the moment. Hence, Emery should focus on turning his attention to some of his other midfield targets before the end of this winter transfer window.

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