By Jonty Banks

13th Feb, 2023 | 9:10am

Aston Villa open talks to sign Fenerbahce striker Enner Valencia in summer transfer - report

Aston Villa have opened talks to sign Fenerbahce striker Enner Valencia in the summer on a one-year contract as Unai Emery looks to bolster his attacking options at the club, according to the Sunday Mirror.

The Villans are short-staffed in the final third at the moment after selling Danny Ings to West Ham in the January transfer window and sanctioning the departure of Cameron Archer on loan to Middlesbrough.

This leaves just Ollie Watkins, Leon Bailey, and 19-year-old January recruit Jhon Duran as Emery’s attacking options until the end of the season, and as such, the club have offered Valencia a short-term deal in the West Midlands to cover this shortage.

The Sunday Mirror (12 February, page 73) wrote: “Aston Villa have out Ecuador striker Enner Valencia on their wish list for a summer transfer – and opened up talks to bring him back to England.

“The 33-year-old currently at Fenerbahce, in Turkey, is rated by Villa boss Unai Emery and has Premier League experience with both West Ham and Everton. His current deal in Turkey runs out in June, so he is already free to speak to clubs abroad – and talks have now begun.

“Villa are offering a one-year contract with an option for a second year. Reports in Spain say Barcelona are also keen on the Ecuador captain.”

Why not January?

Although Valencia looks like a decent option to fill the void in attack, you can’t help but feel the talks should have begun in the January transfer window.

With the 33-year-od’s contract expiring at the end of the season, Villa would still have been able to snap him up on a free transfer during the winter window if they persisted, which begs the question of why they didn’t.

Having let two first-team strikers leave the club, Valencia would have been the perfect stopgap before spending big on a striker at the end of the season.

If Wes Edens and Nassef Sawirirs are to dig deep into their pockets, as expected, and spend big in the summer, why does Emery need Valencia in his ranks as well? An 18-month contract from this January would have been the best move, and the club’s failure to do so suggests a rather muddle transfer plan.

In other Aston Villa news, the club are set to revive interest in an Athletic Bilbao player in the summer after a failed January swoop.