Aston Villa

Noel Whelan has hailed the potential signing of Emiliano Buendia as a “big statement” from Aston Villa. 

The former Leeds hitman, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, reacted to the latest on Villa’s hunt for the 24-year-old.

A Villa source has told Football Insider the club are confident they have edged ahead of Arsenal in the race to sign Buendia after their latest talks.

This comes after this site revealed on 25th May that Villa had opened preliminary talks over a deal for Buendia.

At that time, Arsenal were reportedly the frontrunners for the Norwich attacker after trying to lure him in the January window.

It is understood the up-front price for the Argentine will be considerably less than the reported £40million sum Norwich are demanding.

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Buendia scored 15 goals and picked up 17 assists last season as Norwich romped to the Championship title.

Whelan claims it would be a kick in the teeth for Arsenal if Buendia rejected them to join another Premier League side.

“It’s a big statement from Villa and a kick in the teeth for Arsenal,” Whelan told Football Insider correspondent Ben Wild.

“It shows where Arsenal are as a football club right now. But it also shows where Villa are and their intent to improve. 

“Villa are going in very early to get the best number 10 in the Championship last season. 

“A lot of clubs are looking at him, I know Leeds were looking at him last season. 

“They know what they are getting. But I don’t know whether you can play him and Jack Grealish at the same time. 

“Maybe Dean Smith is working on a new system. But Grealish is wasted out wide for me.”

In other news, Grealish is “very keen” for Villa to seal this summer signing as pundit blown away.