Aston Villa 'alert' Liverpool as club chief all but confirms £51.6m transfer plan

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Liverpool will be on red alert after an ‘unusual’ Aston Villa visit before the summer transfer window.

The recent activity of an Aston Villa boardroom member may have confirmed plans for a significant summer transfer, dealing a blow to Premier League rivals Liverpool.

Damian Vidagany, Director of Football Operations at Villa, was spotted at Estadio de le Cerámica - Villarreal’s ground - at the end of April, watching on as transfer target Álex Baena played the full 90 minutes in a 3-0 win over Rayo Vallecano. It could have been an honest visit to a former club as Vidagany used to work with Emery at Villarreal but the timing is significant.

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The trip was around the same time reports re-emerged of Villa’s interest in Baena, while the club chief hasn’t been back to Cerámica since he and Emery departed in October 2022. It happened to be a particularly good game to watch as the player in question assisted all three goals, scooping the man of the match award.

It’s now claimed - by Spanish outlet Football España - that Emery has given the green light to sign Baena, who has a release clause of €60 million (£51.6 million). There’s a hope a less pricy agreement can be reached, though, as it’s reported €40 million (£34.4m) would be enough to strike a deal for the Liverpool target.

Barcelona could spoil the Villa party as Buena is wanted by the Catalan giants. There’s no wonder why as the 22-year-old’s 12 assists in 31 La Liga appearances this term is a league-high. The left midfielder has impressed in the Europa League, scoring two and assisting four in eight matches. Baena also has two senior Spain caps to his name, as well as one goal.

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