Aston Villa turn to Arsenal man in shock transfer interest as two deals risk failure

Ciaran McCarthy
Nuno Tavares, Emile Smith Rowe, Arsenal, April 2023
Nuno Tavares lines up alongside Emile Smith Rowe

Aston Villa have reportedly identified Arsenal defender Nuno Tavares as a useful back-up option if their deal to sign Marcos Acuna falls through, as Tavares’ move to Forest is also on the ropes.

Villa boss Unai Emery achieved European football with the club in just his first campaign. He took over as Villans boss in October 2022, and led his side from a relegation battle to seventh place, and a place in the UEFA Conference League for this season.

He’s assembling a squad to fight in Europe, with his four signings this summer – Youri Tielemans, Moussa Diaby, Pau Torres and Nicolo Zaniolo – all having played European football before.

There could be more players of that ilk on the way – Villa are said to be in ‘contact’ over the signing of Sevilla full-back Acuna, who won the Europa League last season, and is a World Cup winner. If that deal falls through, Villa will look to Arsenal’s Tavares.

That’s according to the i, with their report suggesting the signing of Tavares has been drawn up as a ‘back-up plan’ given there is not yet an agreement with Sevilla over Acuna.

Tavares was himself a target of Nottingham Forest this summer, and it was reported they were willing to pay Arsenal £30million for his services. However, it’s been reported the deal is “getting complicated” and Tavares has “other options,” Villa now among them.

Emery’s side would not be buying the Portuguese, rather loaning him in for the season. The i states a ‘one-year deal with an option to make it permanent is on the table’.

That’ll suit Villa, given Tavares is only a back-up. Indeed, if they miss out on Acuna, they’ll not necessarily want to sign a player they didn’t really want permanently, and that seems fair enough if they can’t get their top target.

At this stage, it’s unclear how far down the line the move for Acuna is. Villa are said to have agreed personal terms already, but there’s clearly nothing concrete in place with Sevilla as yet.

Villa won’t want to wait forever to see if they can get him, so that Arsenal are willing to loan Tavares to them makes things easier, as that should be a quick move if and when they need to make it.

READ MORE: Emery hopes deep ‘analysis’ of Newcastle battering will help Villa bounce back against Everton