Aston Villa boss Unai Emery ‘crazy’ about Weston McKennie
Aston Villa manager Unai Emery is thought to be ‘crazy’ about Leeds United loanee Weston McKennie ahead of a possible summer swoop.
The Lowdown: McKennie at Leeds
McKennie was heavily linked with a move to Villa Park during the January window and the club actually made contact over a possible deal, but as we know, the USA international ended up making the move to Elland Road.
The 24-year-old arrived in Yorkshire on loan from Juventus with an option to buy for around £30m in the summer. He has gone on to make eight appearances for the Whites but dropped to the bench under Javi Gracia in last weekend’s 2-2 draw with Brighton in the Premier League.
As per WhoScored, McKennie has averaged a match rating of 6.47/10 for Leeds, their 16th-best performer. He would also be Villa’s 16th-best performer of the season with those stats, ahead of the likes of Leander Dendoncker and Philippe Coutinho.
The Latest: Transfer update
Sports Witness relayed an update from Tuttosport regarding McKennie and Emery. They said that the Villa boss is ‘crazy’ about McKennie and may sacrifice one of his own players to secure his services.
Emiliano Martinez appears to be of interest to Juventus and they could look to include McKennie in a deal for the goalkeeper, as the report says he ‘won’t be redeemed by Leeds’, although they don’t provide specific reasons why a permanent deal won’t materialise.
The Verdict: Strength in depth
Although McKennie hasn’t exactly starred since joining Leeds statically, he has caught the eye of some reporters and still seems to have an admirer in Emery. Phil Hay said he was ‘impressed with McKennie’s movement and interplay’ midway through an FA Cup meeting with Fulham last month, whereas Adam Pope described the midfielder as ‘excellent’ at half-time.
A new midfielder could be of use to Villa in the summer as well, especially with the injury issues Boubacar Kamara has faced this season. The Frenchman has recently been sidelined with an ankle issue, with Gregg Evans describing him as almost irreplaceable.
Therefore, bringing in someone like McKennie, who has been hailed as a ‘monster in the air’ by football writer Wes Rucker, could be a shrewd move to bolster Emery’s options in the middle of the park, and with the boss seemingly such a big fan, NSWE could look into a transfer, providing Leeds decline to make a move permanent over the coming months.