By Noel Whelan

11th Nov, 2022 | 3:37pm

Unai Emery 'not scared' to axe Emiliano Buendia and star Aston Villa teammate after source's January reveal - pundit

Noel Whelan has claimed Unai Emery “won’t be scared” to sign an upgrade on Aston Villa stars Philippe Coutinho and Emiliano Buendia despite the pair arriving for big-money fees in back-to-back summer windows.

The former Leeds striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, claimed the attacking midfield pair must “prove their worth” to Emery in order to remain at Villa Park long-term.

Football Insider revealed on Thursday (10 November) that Aston Villa have set their sights on signing an A-list forward in January.

New manager Emery wants an upgrade on the likes of Buendia, 25, and Coutinho, 30.

Buendia started the Spaniard’s first game in charge but was dropped from the side which lost 4-2 against Man United on Thursday (10 November).

The Argentina international has notched just one goal and one assist this season, while Coutinho is yet to contribute towards a goal since signing permanently in the off-season.

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Whelan insisted there is “no doubt” that Emery will add new faces to the Midlands giants in the January window.

He told Football Insider’s Ewan Kingsbury: “It’s down to Buendia and Coutinho to prove their worth now.

“And that’s the same for every player, it’s a clean slate. You’ve got to prove you can contribute to this team.

“Every manager who comes into a new club will want to bring in new faces, and that’s what makes January so interesting for Aston Villa.

“It’s difficult because he’s not had enough time to see these players before the World Cup break.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that he’ll look to freshen things up.

“I don’t think he’ll be scared to spend big to bring someone in ahead of the likes of Buendia and Coutinho.

“It’ll keep them on their toes and working hard.”

In other news, insider claims Unai Emery is putting Aston Villa stars “under pressure” as behind-the-scenes images emerge.