Aston Villa won’t let Al-Nassr hijack their bid to land Bayer Leverkusen winger Moussa Diaby without a fight.
Die Werkself rebuffed Villa’s’ initial approach last week, but they came knocking on their door again with an improved offer on Monday.
According to L’Equipe, the Premier League giants lodged a club-record bid worth €45 million base fee and €5m in add-ons to snap up the 24-year-old forward.
If the Germans accept the proposal, the Frenchman will become Villa’s record signing, surpassing Emiliano Buendia’s €38m move from Norwich City in 2021.
Diaby has excelled in the Bundesliga since swapping Paris Saint-Germain for Leverkusen in 2019, mustering 49 goals and 48 assists in 172 appearances.
His stellar form at the BayArena hasn’t gone under the radar, with Al-Nassr joining the race to lure him away from Germany on Monday.
Following the blockbuster arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo last winter, the Saudi Pro League heavyweights have added Marcelo Brozovic to their ranks this summer and are now looking to bring in Diaby.
But their opening bid for the pacey forward fell just under the €43m threshold, putting Villa in pole position to team up the France international with his compatriots Boubacar Kamara and Lucas Digne.
Emery has made two eye-catching signings this summer, with Pau Torres and Youri Tielemans coming in from Villarreal and Leicester City, respectively.
The Spanish manager is ready to offload underperforming superstar Philippe Coutinho in the coming weeks to make room for a first summer reinforcement in the front third.
Diaby is his favourite option to fill in the blank.
After helping Villa evolve from potential relegation fighters to Europa League participants in his first year at the club, he has earned financial support from the Villa Park powerbrokers.
The club chiefs are willing to flex their financial muscle to bring Diaby, so it’s up to the player to decide whether to join the world’s most exciting league or succumb to the lure of the petrodollars.