Aston Villa hatch £30m Man City transfer plan for shock Champions League qualifier

Yan Couto of Girona FC looks on
-Credit: (Image: Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images)

Manchester City could face a huge decision regarding the future of right-back Yan Couto this summer, with Aston Villa newly-named among the interested clubs.

Unai Emery is in the process of upgrading areas of his squad for a season the club will be competing on both domestic and Champions League fronts at once. Full-back appears to be one part of the team the manager has identified, starting with the impending £37.5m signing of Ian Maatsen from Chelsea.

The 22-year-old's arrival will see the left side of defence covered for years to come, but what about the opposite side? Matty Cash was linked with an exit as the summer transfer window opened, and now there has been a suggestion as to who Villa could turn to as a replacement.

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According to, the club are in direct competition with Tottenham Hotspur to sign Couto from Premier League rivals Man City. The 22-year-old signed for the champions from Coritiba in 2020 but is yet to make a competitive appearance in England as using their multi-club ownership model, he has been on loan to La Liga side Girona for three of the past four campaigns.

The Under-17 World Cup winner has therefore gained the majority of his senior experience in Spain, making 95 appearances for his Catalan loan club. He has earned a reputation as a marauding right-back in that time, scoring five goals while providing 17 assists - 10 of the latter coming last season as Girona secured qualification for next season's Champions League.

It is said he hopes to remain in La Liga, however Man City have ultimately yet to decide what to do with the player beyond the summer. What's more, Girona are thought to be unlikely to afford the defender's €25m (£21.1m) asking price.

Villa and Spurs can therefore present Pep Guardiola and Co with a conundrum, should they make their reported interest known. Both teams would reportedly offer as high as €35m (£29.6m) for Couto, therefore asking the question of City to sell to a direct Premier League rival or reject a substantial offer on those grounds.

Couto is currently part of Brazil's Copa America squad, alongside departing Villa midfielder Douglas Luiz. He was unused in their opening group stage fixture - a 0-0 draw with Costa Rica, and any final decision regarding his future can only be expected after the tournament's end.

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