Aston Villa have snapped up Sky Bet Championship Player of the Season Emiliano Buendia on a five-year deal for a club-record fee; Villa are understood to have outbid Arsenal to land the 24-year-old midfielder
Friday 11 June 2021 06:47, UK
Aston Villa have confirmed the signing of Emiliano Buendia from Norwich on a five-year contract for a club-record transfer fee that could rise to £38m.
Buendia was named Sky Bet Championship Player of the Season after he played a key role in getting the Canaries straight back into the Premier League after they were relegated in 2019/20.
He scored 15 goals and registered 16 assists, creating more chances than any other player in the division.
The 24-year-old midfielder's signing was confirmed by Villa after he completed a medical having been part of Argentina's squad for their 2-2 draw with Colombia in their World Cup Qualifying match.
"Emiliano has just completed an outstanding season in a championship-winning Norwich side with 31 combined goals and assists and was named player of the season across the league," Villa head coach Dean Smith told the club website.
"He is equally capable as a wide attacker or as a number 10 and is a great addition to our attacking options. We are delighted to have made such an exciting signing so early in the summer and look forward to Emi joining up with us for a full pre-season."
Sky Sports' Gerard Brand:
"Dean Smith hinted at the end of last season that creativity was their priority in the window, and they have wasted little time in securing it in Buendia.
"Jack Grealish's 12-game absence between February and May is all the evidence you need that the majority of Villa's creative duties lay on his shoulders. Villa won just 21 per cent of their games without him, and won 54 per cent with their skipper.
"Buendia topped the charts for chances created (122), assists (16) and final-third passes completed (735) in the Championship last season, but for those doubting his ability to step up a division, his stats in Norwich's Premier League campaign of 2019/20 are also telling. Despite their relegation, Buendia was fourth for chances created (83), behind Kevin De Bruyne, Grealish and Trent Alexander-Arnold.
"Whether Grealish plays left of a front three next season or more centrally as a No 10 remains to be seen - Villa still arguably do not know his very best position having played him more or less 50-50 in both areas since promotion to the Premier League. But wherever Grealish starts next season, Villa needed to strengthen in wide areas.
"Though Bertrand Traore, Anwar El Ghazi and Trezeguet have chipped in with important goals, there is a feeling Villa needed something more consistent from the wings, and the hope is Buendia will provide that.
"Given how early Villa moved in this window, paired with fending off competition from Arsenal, this is a signing that Villa fans believe shows huge ambition."