Aston Villa urged to sign Man Utd ace after Unai Emery turned up ‘out of nowhere’ to watch him

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Many have been wondering why Aston Villa manager Unai Emery was present in the stands at Nottingham Forest vs Manchester United – this could well be the reason.

Aston Villa manager Unai Emery was present at the Carabao Cup clash between Nottingham Forest and Manchester United on Wednesday evening, much to the surprise of plenty of supporters up and down the country. Caught on the Sky Sports television cameras, the Spaniard looked focused as he watched the sides fighting for a place in the final.

With the Villans out of the competition and neither Forest nor United an upcoming opposition until April, Emery’s surprise appearance at the City Ground certainly raised a few eyebrows. The January transfer window is of course yet to close and Villa have still only brought in two fresh faces, but there haven’t been any concrete links to players from either club.

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One thing we do know is that Emery is desperate to bring in a new winger before the end of the window and defensive midfield is seen as an area of priority. Links to the likes of Gerard Deulofeu, Luiz Henrique and Matteo Guendouzi just won’t go away - but perhaps there is a player or two going completely under the radar.

Having seen Emery pop up on their screens out of nowhere, a few theories have emerged, with one being he was there to watch a transfer target. Anthony Elanga, who came on in the 85th minute of the clash, is available to sign on loan this month according to Sky Sports News. Forest’s Brennan Johnson, meanwhile, could fit the bill as Emery looks for a winger with “different characteristics”.

Elanga is perhaps the one that makes most sense here and Villa supporters seem to agree. On Twitter, @villatillwedie wrote: “Elanga is available on loan, January everybody is overpriced and he gives us an option off the bench. Needs to prove himself as Garnacho has his place - it’s a cheap fix for now,” whereas @Villaboy89 said: “I think Emery was at the City Ground to look at Elanga.”

Manchester United winger Anthony Elanga is available for a loan move this January and Unai Emery watched him on Wednesday night.Manchester United winger Anthony Elanga is available for a loan move this January and Unai Emery watched him on Wednesday night.
Manchester United winger Anthony Elanga is available for a loan move this January and Unai Emery watched him on Wednesday night. | AFP via Getty Images

The Sweden international has been a regular off the bench for Erik ten Hag but he is yet to get a run of consistent game time under the Red Devils’ latest managerial recruit. Elanga has scored four goals and contributed four assists in 48 career appearances for United, though his minutes total of 2,209 equates to just 24.5 full 90s.

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At the time of publication, there are five days left of the transfer window and so far the Lions have signed two players - Alex Moreno from Real Betis and Jhon Duran from Chicago Fire - so there are bound to be more incomings before the deadline. Whether or not one of these was Elanga or another player at the Carabao Cup game awaits to be seen. One to watch, perhaps.

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