By Jonty Banks

3rd May, 2023 | 5:10pm

Aston Villa among 'favourites' for transfer of £40million Feyenoord maestro Orkun Kokcu

Aston Villa have joined the race to sign Feyenoord midfielder Orkun Kokcu this summer, with Unai Emery’s side “among the favourites” to capture his signature.

The Mirror understands that the 22-year-old is being chased by as many as six Premier League clubs but that the offer by Villa is under strong consideration, especially if the club manages to secure European football for next season.

Villa have sent scouts to watch the Turkish international, who is valued at £40million, ply his trade in the Eredivisie this campaign, and have returned to Birmingham with glowing reports.

Although Aston Villa currently have an extremely settled midfield – with Douglas Luiz and Boubacar Kamara the mainstay’s in the middle of the park when fully fit, and John McGinn and Douglas Luiz thriving on either side – there is little depth beyond that.

However, if Villa were to act on their interest and pursue Kokcu this summer, it would certainly be as a first-team starting option considering the standout season he has had with Dutch table-toppers Feyernoord.

Under the guidance of highly-rated manager Arne Slot, the midfielder has shone, scoring eight goals and recording two assists from 27 appearances.

Kokcu, who can play either as a central midfielder or in more advanced attacking areas when needed, has a far superior string of passing and attacking statistics to all three of Luiz, Ramsey and McGinn.

Kamara isn’t considered in such comparisons due to his deep-lying central midfield position – a role which Kokcu has rarely played.

According to WhoScored, the Feyenoord star has recorded the most shots on goal per game (2.8) out of the four, as well as over double the amount of key passes (2.8) per outing than McGinn (0.6), Ramsey (1.2) and Luiz (1.2).

In possession of the ball, Kokcu also looks like he is tailor-made for Emery’s needs of patient build-up play, averaging 71.8 passes per game at an accuracy of 84.1% – a total that none of Villa’s midfield comes close to matching.

Furthermore, as per the Opta-powered stats at FBREF, he has been one of the leading midfielders across Europe over the last year, sitting in the 97th percentile for passes completed and the 99th percentile for passes attempted.

Kokcu also stands in the top 5% of midfielders for progressive passes per 90 minutes (11.78) as well as progressive carries (2.83) and passes into the final third (9.79).

How Aston Villa have emerged from the pack for Kokcu’s services is unclear, but if they get the slightest sniff that the Turkish international is seriously considering a switch to Villa Park, they should act without hesitation.

Kokcu looks like the game-changing option that Emery has been craving in the middle of the park.

In other Aston Villa news, a Sky Sports stat reveal has highlighted the importance of one first-team player in the race for European football this season.