Aston Villa wants Euro 2024 star to enhance Champions League squad

France v Poland: Group D - UEFA EURO 2024
France v Poland: Group D - UEFA EURO 2024 / Christian Liewig - Corbis/GettyImages

Aston Villa, having recently secured compliance with the Premier League's profit and sustainability rules, is now poised to reinforce their squad as they prepare for their inaugural Champions League campaign. This development marks a remarkable turnaround for the club, which found itself struggling in the Championship just five years ago.

Under the astute leadership of manager Unai Emery, Aston Villa has not only returned to the Premier League but has also earned a coveted spot in the Champions League. This achievement highlights the club's resurgence and ambition to challenge the traditional "big six" of English football.

With financial constraints no longer a hindrance, Villa is setting its sights on key transfer targets to bolster their squad. According to TEAMtalk, one of the most prominent names linked with a move to Villa Park is Adrien Rabiot, the talented French midfielder currently plying his trade at Juventus. Rabiot, who is also a key player for France at Euro 2024, is out of contract this summer, making him a highly sought-after free agent.

Rabiot's versatility and experience make him an ideal fit for Villa's midfield. At 29 years old, he brings a wealth of experience and a robust physical presence that aligns with Emery's tactical vision.

Rabiot's statistics from the past year are nothing short of impressive. He ranks among the top 11% of central midfielders in Europe's top five leagues for goals scored, the top 14% for progressive carries, and the top 8% for touches in the attacking penalty area. Additionally, he excels in aerial duels, placing in the top 11% per 90 minutes. (Stats via FBref)

Villa faces stiff competition for Rabiot's signature, with Manchester United, Arsenal, and several other top European clubs expressing interest. However, Villa's ability to offer Champions League football next season could be a decisive factor in their favour, especially considering Manchester United will only be competing in the Europa League.

Rabiot's potential addition to Villa's squad would provide the team with a dynamic and experienced midfielder capable of influencing both ends of the pitch. His ability to perform in a box-to-box role, coupled with his defensive acumen and offensive contributions, aligns well with Emery's tactical vision.

Moreover, Rabiot's experience in top-tier European competitions would be invaluable as Villa navigates the challenges of the Champions League.

The recent transfer saga involving Douglas Luiz, who is set to join Juventus with Samuel-Iling Junior and Enzo Barrenechea moving in the opposite direction, has established a relationship between the two clubs. This connection could lead Villa to capitalise on the opportunity to secure Rabiot's services.

Despite holding crunch talks with Juventus regarding a contract extension, no agreement has been reached, opening the door for suitors to present their proposals. Emery has a specific type of midfielder in mind, with Rabiot and Matteo Guendouzi being his favoured options. However, with Guendouzi likely to stay at Lazio, Villa is focusing their efforts on Rabiot.

Rabiot's performance at Euro 2024 has been noteworthy, showcasing his talents despite missing some opportunities. His robust physicality and experience would pay dividends for Villa, especially as they venture into the Champions League.

Villa's transfer team, including Monchi and Emery, will have analysed Rabiot's underlying numbers and determined that he is a player capable of making a significant impact on their squad. While some might scoff at suggestions that Rabiot could perform as Emery's own version of Jude Bellingham at Villa Park, the French phenom is both fluid and fierce in his forward movements, switched on during defensive phases, and endowed with an innate understanding of the game.

Rabiot's primary goal is to secure the most lucrative contract of his career at the elite level, and he is keen to join the team that offers the highest salary. Aston Villa would benefit greatly from adding him to their squad. Although clubs like Manchester United are also interested, Emery's ambitious project at Villa Park could entice Rabiot to take on a pivotal role for the Lions.