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Aston Villa identify Jhon Duran replacement amid Chelsea talks?

Villa identify Duran replacement amid Chelsea talks?
© Reuters
Aston Villa reportedly identify a potential replacement for Jhon Duran, who is known to be in discussions over a transfer to Chelsea.

Aston Villa have reportedly identified a player who they view as a potential replacement for Jhon Duran.

The West Midlands outfit would prefer to be focused on incomings having finished in fourth place in the Premier League standings, securing a Champions League spot in the process.

Instead, club officials are having to ensure that they are compliant with the division's Profit and Sustainability Rules by negotiating at least one big-money sale.

Reports have indicated that Douglas Luiz could be sold to Juventus, with two players moving in the opposite direction, and a similar situation is allegedly materialising with Chelsea.

Villa are open to cashing in on Duran, providing that they can sign at least one Chelsea player, with the idea they make a profit while not losing out on quality in the squad.

Whether they can strike a deal for a Blues player remains to be seen, yet Duran and his representatives are said to be eager to wrap up a transfer to Stamford Bridge.

Aston Villa's Jhon Duran celebrates scoring their first goal on April 3, 2024© Reuters

Villa move for Duran replacement

If Villa can part ways with Duran, it would prove hugely beneficial if the Colombia international's replacement was acquired on a free transfer.

According to Football Insider, that could prove to be the case with Leicester City forward Kelechi Iheanacho of interest to Villa.

Iheanacho's seven-year spell at Leicester has just come to an end, with the Nigeria international contributing to 61 goals and 34 assists from his 232 appearances in all competitions.

Although Iheanacho has only scored 13 league goals across three seasons, one of which came in the Championship, the 27-year-old will be an attractive option to clubs this summer.

The report adds that Villa initially held talks with Iheanacho's representatives in May and are continuing to monitor the situation.

Leicester City's Kelechi Iheanacho in action with Southampton's Armel Bella-Kotchap on March 4, 2023© Reuters

Would a transfer suit all parties?

Given his free-agent status, Iheanacho will have no problem finding a club where he would receive regular starts, something that he has not always had through his career.

However, the chance to return to the Premier League and feature in the Champions League for a club that is an hour from Leicester may prove too tempting to turn down.

Ollie Watkins would remain as first choice for Villa, yet Unai Emery is a frequent user of a 4-4-2 formation. Iheanacho could plausibly take on a deeper role behind Watkins.

Emery will also be conscious of how fatigued his players became during 2023-24 after a gruelling season. That should result in more rotation than he was able to opt for this campaign due to injuries.

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Chelsea co-owner Todd Boehly in February 2024.
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