Unai Emery confirms Aston Villa tried to sign Chelsea star in January
Aston Villa manager Unai Emery has admitted that the Villans were briefly interested in Joao Felix before he joined Chelsea on loan in January.
With March's international break out of the way, the focus is back on club football. Premier League clubs return to action on Saturday (April 1), with Liverpool locking horns with Manchester City in the gameweek opener.
In another exciting clash, Graham Potter's Chelsea host Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge. It's worth noting that both teams are level on points, with the Blues ahead only on goal difference.
The London giants will aim to take all three points and edge closer to a top-four spot. Felix is among those expected to start for Potter's side, who look to return to action on a winning note.
Aston Villa, meanwhile, were linked with an ambitious swoop for Felix when Atletico Madrid made him available in the January transfer window. The Blues, though, eventually roped him in for a package worth around £15 million.
Emery has now revealed that the Birmingham-based club indeed considered a move for Felix last January. The Villa boss added that the financials involved in the deal ruled his team out of the race (via The Athletic):
“He’s a special player and was not totally impossible for us, but he wanted to play for a team in the Champions League. We are realistic about how we can improve and how we can add players to improve our squad. He has a high salary, and Chelsea paid a lot of money for that. I like him, but we were never really in the running for him.”
Although Emery is an admirer of Felix, he will now be focused on keeping the Portugal international at bay when Aston Villa face Chelsea on Saturday.
Unai Emery hails Chelsea star Joao Felix as special
Providing his thoughts on Joao Felix, Unai Emery explained that the attacker needs time to settle in at Stamford Bridge. The Aston Villa manager tipped the player to excel for the Blues:
“He needs time to adapt in the Premier League, but he’s young and progressively getting better at Chelsea. He can assist, score goals, drop deep to build up, and he can play in the small spaces and drive into the box. He’s special.”
Felix has two goals in nine appearances across competitions for Graham Potter's side.
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