Aston Villa lead race for World Cup winner and Bundesliga star

Bayer 04 Leverkusen v Eintracht Frankfurt - Bundesliga
Bayer 04 Leverkusen v Eintracht Frankfurt - Bundesliga / Leon Kuegeler/GettyImages

Aston Villa and Newcastle United are locked in a summer showdown for Bayer Leverkusen's midfield maestro, Exequiel Palacios. But Villa may have the inside track to land the dynamic Argentine World Cup winner.

Unai Emery is searching for midfield reinforcements in light of Boubacar Kamara's extended injury, and Palacios's all-around game is an enticing option. The 25-year-old's tireless running and clever distribution would inject fresh energy into a Villa side chasing an elusive top-four finish to secure Champions League football.

Getting the deal done won't be a walk in the park. Leverkusen value their star highly, slapping a £40 million price tag on Palacios – a figure that reflects his recent contract extension. Newcastle, fuelled by their own ambitions under Eddie Howe, are equally interested. However, their Champions League hopes took a hit with an early exit, potentially handing Villa a key advantage.

The lure of competing on the grandest European stage could prove the decisive factor for Palacios. If Villa can maintain their lofty position in the Premier League table, the prospect of rubbing shoulders with Europe's elite might just tip the scales in their favour.

Palacios, hot off his World Cup triumph, is poised for a big move to English football. Whether it's to Villa Park or St. James' Park, the Premier League is about to get a dose of his South American flair. But while Newcastle offers a thrilling project, Aston Villa's potential Champions League slot could give them the vital edge in this transfer tug-of-war.