Saudi Pro League heavyweights Al-Nassr are looking to hijack Aston Villa’s move for Bayer Leverkusen speed demon Moussa Diaby.
Villa’s opening bid for the 24-year-old worth €45 million fell on deaf ears last week as Leverkusen are holding out for a significantly higher transfer fee.
Despite being pressured by the player, Leverkusen won’t sanction his departure unless they receive an offer over €60m.
While they’re unlikely to get such a proposal from Villa, Al-Nassr could match their stratospheric demands as they hope to team Diaby up with other household names on their roster, according to the Daily Mail.
Marcelo Brozovic has joined last season’s heroes David Ospina, Cristiano Ronaldo and Talisca this summer after a long-running saga, halting his eight-year association with Inter Milan for a blockbuster contract.
After being swept away by Al-Ittihad in last season’s title race, Al-Nassr are keen to forge a formidable attacking line-up by placing Diaby next to Ronaldo and Talisca.
Unlike Villa, they have no issues meeting Leverkusen’s request, although the Frenchman may not be enthusiastic about leaving Europe at his peak powers.
Emery has earmarked Diaby as his top summer target to replace Jack Grealish, who left Villa Park to join Pep Guardiola’s all-conquering Manchester City side in a mouth-watering deal in 2021.
But he’s not the only option on the Spaniard’s shortlist.
Rennes starlet Jeremy Doku is another potential candidate following an impressive Ligue 1 season at Roazhon Park.
Like Diaby, the Belgian boasts a blistering pace and fancy footwork as two of his most prominent features.
However, his price tag should be much more affordable.
Villa’s initial offer fell only €3m short of the Italians’ valuation, suggesting the Premier League outfit can continue their pursuit with optimism.