Emiliano Buendia is a “quality” player who could replace Aston Villa loan star Ross Barkley next season, according to Kevin Phillips.
The former Sunderland forward, who spent one season at Villa Park during the 2005-06 campaign, claimed the Norwich City star would be a “slight gamble” despite his success as they romped to the Championship title.
As revealed by Football Insider on Tuesday, Villa have already opened preliminary talks with third parties over a deal for the 24-year-old.
When asked by Football Insider for his view on Buendia, Phillips said: “I think he’s been their best player this season, he’s probably player of the season in that league and he’s been one of the main reasons for Norwich winning it.
“With Ross Barkley, it just went sour towards the end. I was excited when he first went. I backed it and it started well, then it just dipped and it didn’t work, so Buendia could be a player that Villa will look at.
“If they can get hold of him then they know they’re getting a quality player but it’s also a slight gamble because we don’t know what he’s going to be like.
“After the season he’s had he’s going to be a marked man in the Premier League, but he’s certainly got the quality, and I would imagine there will be a couple of other clubs making enquiries as well.”
Buendia scored 15 goals and registered 17 assists in the Championship last season as Norwich finished six points clear of Watford on 97 points.
The Argentine, who was recently called up to the national squad for their upcoming Copa America tournament, has prior experience of the Premier League after featuring in 36 of Norwich’s 38-game 2019/20 campaign.
However, he scored just one goal as the Canaries were relegated.