Aston Villa told there are 'very few' like transfer target Enzo Barrenechea

Enzo Barrenechea
-Credit: (Image: Photo by Franco Romano/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Aston Villa could land Enzo Barrenechea this summer as part of the transfer deal which takes Douglas Luiz to Juventus. Villa have been exploring who they might be able to attract to Villa Park in return as Juve target a deal for Luiz and remain willing to offer a couple of players as part of the arrangement.

England youth international Samuel Iling-Junior appears all set to head the other way, but there has been a complication as regards to the second player. Weston McKennie, who looked the likeliest to return to England, where he's previously spent time with Leeds on loan, but the US international - currently away for Copa America - now looks set to remain in Turin.

Barrenechea, though, by comparison is an interesting prospect. The Argentine, 23, came through Newell's Old Boys - the same club which helped to produce Lionel Messi - and moved to FC Sion in Switzerland in 2019, but a switch to Juventus didn't follow too long after. Barrenechea suffered an ACL injury in the club's B team in his first season in Italy.

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The midfielder has only featured five times for the Old Lady's first team, but he spent last year on loan at Serie A rivals Frosinone Calcio. Barrenechea played 39 matches in all competitions and scored once, in a 4-0 Coppa Italia win over Napoli. Those minutes and exposure at the highest level in Italy have seen the midfielder's stock grow.

During his time with Frosinone, who have effectively given his senior career in Europe lift-off, Barrenechea left an great impression. His manager there, Eusebio Di Francesco, said: "He is a true playmaker and has the quality to manage many situations. With his age there are very few of him in Serie A, a championship in which he lacked the experience he is gradually acquiring and training continuously at great intensity."

Frosinone chairman Guido Angelozzi added Enzo Barrenechea: "For me, he can be in the Juventus squad without a doubt, he has so much quality. Personally, I am in love with Barrenechea, he reminds me of Rijkaard in his AC Milan days."

Villa, who are without Boubacar Kamara until August at the earliest and who'll be without Luiz once the move to Juve is confirmed, will be in need of a new face to fill the six position at the base of Unai Emery's midfield. If the comparisons to a Barcelona great are anything to go by, Villa might have their man in Barrenechea.

"Enzo is a really strong player," former Juventus under-19 coach Andrea Bonatti concluded. “Characteristics? He is no different from Rodri or Busquets, he is a playmaker and can also play as a midfielder. He has an aerial game, knowledge, covers the pitch well, has great technique, dominance under pressure, play more vertically and now he is much more complete.”

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