By Noel Whelan

4th Nov, 2022 | 4:00pm

Antony cited as Aston Villa source reveals £40m January swoop - pundit

Noel Whelan has backed new Aston Villa boss Unai Emery to follow counterparts Jesse Marsch and Erik ten Hag by raiding his former sides in the transfer market.

The former Leeds striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, backed the Spaniard to go into the market for players he can “rely on and trust” after taking charge at Villa Park.

This site revealed on Thursday (3 November) that Aston Villa have made £40million-rated Villarreal star Pau Torres their top target after Emery’s appointment.

Sources told Football Insider last week (27 October) that the club’s owners are set to hand their new boss a “huge” transfer kitty over the next two transfer windows.

Aston Villa sit just one point above the relegation zone ahead of Emery’s first game in charge against Man United on Sunday (6 November).

Whelan insisted a deal for Torres would address an “area they really need to strengthen”.

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When asked if Emery could look to take advantage of his relationships by raiding his former sides, he told Football Insider’s Ewan Kingsbury: “Absolutely.

“We’ve seen this with a number of managers, even this season. Jesse Marsch at Leeds, Ten Hag at Man United – how many did he bring in from Ajax? Antony and Martinez, plus Malacia from elsewhere in the league.

“Every manager goes for players they know they can rely on and trust. Emery will know that Torres can bring something to the team.

“It’s not just about quality, it’s also about personality. He needs to have that winning mentality and those leadership qualities.

“It doesn’t surprise me. He’s been a fantastic player for Villarreal and it’s an area they really need to strengthen.”

In other news, Gabby Agbonlahor backs Emery to bomb out Aston Villa big names after source’s “huge” reveal.