Hot Transfer news: Unai Emery plots raid on former club as Arsenal prepare for summer exits
Unai Emery is keeping tabs on Dani Parejo’s situation at Villarreal with a view to signing the midfielder this summer.
The pair worked together during Emery’s time at the Spanish club, prior to his appointment at Aston Villa.
Parejo, 34, has impressed for Villarreal this season, playing in all of their 34 matches in LaLiga. He also currently ranks highest in the division for completed passes, ahead of the likes of Real Madrid’s Toni Kroos and Barcelona’s Frenkie de Jong.
His form has even seen him linked with a switch to Barcelona as a replacement for the departing Sergio Busquets, but he recently played down any suggestions of an impending move.
Parejo was signed by Emery on a free transfer back in 2020 when he tempted him to Villarreal from Valencia, where they had worked together years previously, and played a pivotal role in winning the Europa League in his first season for the Yellow Submarine.
The Spanish international was also a key player in Villarreal’s run to the Champions League semi-finals the following season.
Emery is preparing for a big summer in only his second transfer window since taking charge in the Midlands. Villa are on the lookout for reinforcements in midfield, with wider reports linking them with Tottenham loanee Giovani Lo Celso, who is currently Parejo’s team-mate at Villarreal.
Dani Parejo of Villarreal CF looks on during the LaLiga Santander match between Villarreal CF and Athletic Club at Estadio de la Ceramica, May 13, 2023, Vila-real, Spain. (Photo by David Aliaga/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Dani Parejo is a target for Aston Villa boss Unai Emery
Parejo has been capped four times by Spain and even had a brief loan stint with Queens Park Rangers earlier in his career.
Gary Neville worked with the midfielder during his ill-fated spell as manager at Valencia and told The Athletic: “He’s an exceptional player. Dani is the type of player who could play for Pep Guardiola at Manchester City. (He) could have played for Luis Enrique at Barcelona. He could play in a Pep Guardiola team. He’s that good.”
Parejo has spoken highly of Emery, too, praising him to Goal: “He is a great coach because of how he prepares, how he studies the opposition. I had many coaches, and I have seen how they work. Unai is one of the best, of course. I think he is several steps above as a coach.”
The Gunners boss is set for another massive transfer window and will be backed as they look to mount another title challenge next season.
They are desperate to build on this season’s progress with West Ham captain Declan Rice established as their No1 transfer target in what could be their busiest transfer window to date. It underlines Arsenal’s ambition and determination to challenge Manchester City next season after coming so close this time before their title challenge fell away.
Arteta is targeting new signings in key areas as he wants up to FIVE major new arrivals with a centre half, full back, two midfielders and a winger in a summer spree.
There are almost certain to be big name departures as Newcastle target Kieran Tierney and Bayer Leverkusen want Granit Xhaka, although Arteta remains a huge fan of the Switzerland midfielder.
Emile Smith Rowe has also struggled for game time and could be tempted to move with Leicester pair James Maddison and Youri Tielemans potentially moving this summer. They could also cash in on Folarin Balogun which could signal more cash to spend with Crystal Palace ’s highly-rated defender Marc Guehi also among the targets.
Napoli defender Kim Min-jae has agreed to join Manchester United as the club are also pushing for a deal to sign his teammate Victor Osimhen.
South Korean international Kim, whose contract contains a £43million release clause, has his heart set on a switch to Old Trafford after the two clubs opened negotiations. The same individuals negotiating that agreement are also working on a deal for Osimhen.
The 24-year-old striker has bagged 28 goals in all competitions for Napoli this campaign and is in high demand with Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain also monitoring his situation. The Italian champions will part ways with the Nigerian this summer, but only should they receive an offer they deem to be irresistible.
United have extensively scouted both players in recent months with the club preparing for another landmark transfer window under Erik ten Hag as they aim to build a squad capable of challenging for the Premier League.
Wolves keeper Daniel Bentley aims to stay in the team after finally making his Premier League debut aged 29 after over 400 games.
The goalkeeper has worked his way up the Football League via Southend, Brentford and Bristol City. He joined Wolves in January from Championship City and belatedly made his first appearance in a 2-0 loss at Manchester United.
Bentley replaced out of form Jose Sa and now hopes to keep his place when Everton visit on Saturday. He reflected: “Goalkeeping is slightly different to outfield players and experience is invaluable.
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