Aston Villa: Imagine Diego Carlos and Roger Ibanez
Aston Villa have been linked with a centre-back ahead of the summer transfer window, as Unai Emery looks to add reinforcements to his squad.
The Spaniard has revolutionised the Midlands club since his arrival in October, taking the Villans away from staring at the bottom three to looking up at Europe in just over six months in charge.
With two games remaining of Villa’s season, Emery has his sights set on a European finish that could crown the success of his first term, as well as provide an attractive prospect for targets in the transfer window.
Speaking to The Athletic in April, the 51-year-old expressed his desire to add strength through depth in his squad this summer, with the latest target proposing added defensive stability.
What’s the latest on Roger Ibanez to Aston Villa?
As reported by Italian outlet CalcioMercatoWeb, Villa have ‘started to move’ for Roma centre-back Roger Ibanez.
The report states that the Europa League finalists require €40m by the end of June to abide by Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations.
Several clubs from England are speculated to be interested in the Brazilian who is worth between €35m and €40m (£30-£35m), as per the report.
What could Roger Ibanez bring to Aston Villa?
The 24-year-old centre-back has been one of the club’s best performers this season in Serie A, averaging a Sofascore match rating of 7.02 over 31 games.
Once hailed as “untouchable” by the formidable Jose Mourinho, the Brazilian has been an anchor in Roma’s defence this campaign, as highlighted by his numbers that rank him amongst Europe’s best.
As per FBref, the defender ranks in the top 2% of Europe’s top five leagues for most tackles, averaging 2.22 per 90, over the last 365 days.
The “outstanding” Canela-born talent – as lauded by journalist Josh Bunting – has won an average of 70% of his aerial duels this season, making him a real presence in central defence, via Sofascore.
In terms of fitting into Villa’s set-up, Emery could create a frightening Brazilian core in central defence, placing Ibanez alongside Diego Carlos in the back line.
The Villans boss told Express and Star that the star signed last summer is due to play a “big part” in his plans at the club, having missed the majority of his first season due to a ruptured Achilles.
The 30-year-old was integral to Sevilla’s defence last campaign in LaLiga, where he won 62% of his duels, subsequently leading to his move to the Premier League.
The pair could bring the ultimate stability to Villa’s defence, with both Brazilians possessing extensive experience in playing against Europe’s elite throughout their careers.
If Emery can get the deal over the line, the Spaniard could have a defensive force to be reckoned with, on top of the talent already at Villa Park.