Aston Villa appear to be set to intensify their summer transfer activity as the eye a double swoop to reinforce both their goalkeeping depth and their front line.
Arsenal second-choice goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez has emerged as a top target for the Villans after some incredible performances for the Gunners in the wake of Arsenal losing their main shot-stopper, Bernd Leno, to injury in June.
The Argentine has had to be patient for a chance to prove himself in the colours of the north London outfit, but grasped his opportunity with both hands during a formidable run of 11 games – lifting an FA Cup in the process.
However, the Argentine now appears to be unsettled and has indicated to his club that he is only willing to stay in north London if he has assurances that he will be able to meaningfully compete for a regular starting spot between the posts.
Consequentially, the goalkeeper’s performances and his unsettled status have not gone unnoticed as the Villans have already seen an initial offer rejected by Arsenal, according to The Athletic.
However, Aston Villa are now understood by talkSPORT to have submitted an improved offer that is ‘substantially closer’ to Arsenal’s £20million asking price, with the Villans offering Martinez regular first-team football. Key 2019/20 summer signing Tom Heaton is out with a knee injury and will miss the start of the season, with Martinez seemingly the natural choice to compete for his place with the 2020/21 season looming.
Any deal is dependent on Arsenal’s own transfer business, with the north London side only willing to sanction a move if they are able to bring in a replacement first. As a result, Martinez may be left with a degree of uncertainty over his future.
Aston Villa are also keen on strengthening at the other end of the pitch as they eye a transfer move for Norwegian hitman Joshua King.
The Bournemouth star currently has only a year left on his current contract, with the Cherries keen to avoid repeating another loss of a key player on a free transfer in the manner through which former star Ryan Fraser left the club.
Both Fraser and former Villa target Callum Wilson have now linked up again at Villa’s Premier League rivals Newcastle United. As a consequence, King is now appearing to be a priority for Dean Smith’s side as they look to affordably strengthen their attacking threat.
According to the Daily Telegraph, Villa have followed up their interest with a £16 million bid to the south coast side.
Dean Smith is said to be keen on signing two new strikers this summer, with the club in talks over a move for top target Ollie Watkins of Brentford. Equally, there is further interest in breakout Liverpool starlet Rhian Brewster and Celtic’s French talismanic hitman Odsonne Edouard.