By Daniel Feliciano

18th Jan, 2023 | 1:40pm

Aston Villa move to hijack Leeds United transfer for Azzedine Ounahi

Aston Vila are looking to hijack the Leeds deal for Azzedine Ounahi after holding talks with the Angers chairman in England on Monday.

The Moroccan international has become one of the hottest properties on the continent after his World Cup performances, and Leeds had been leading the race for his signature after offering more than anyone else (16 January, 90min).

But journalist Ciro Venerato told TG Sport, as quoted by Tutto Napoli, that talks in the UK this week were held mainly with Aston Villa and not Leeds, with the Midlands club keen to enter the race after being turned down by Weston McKennie.

“These are decisive days for the Moroccan midfielder,” he said (17 January).

“The president of Angers left for England yesterday and it seems that he is talking to Aston Villa more than with Leeds, which just two days ago received the no from the Juventus player McKennie.

“Naples sighted and pessimistic about this negotiation, De Laurentiis’ club in fact reiterates that it will not go beyond the 15 million offered. He also reiterated this to his agent a few hours ago.”

Blow

The signing of Ounahi was to be seen as an added bonus after the arrivals of Max Wober and Georginio Rutter, plus the exit of Mateusz Klich this month.

Napoli are known to be very interested but their offer is considerably lower than Leeds’, and the financial element of the deal meant that the Whites had an advantage.

But now with Aston Villa in the mix and able to offer similar financial terms as well as a better position in the Premier League currently, the chances of a move to Elland Road look slimmer.

Leeds will no doubt continue trying to get a deal done and talks will surely continue, but Ounahi now seemingly has more than just Leeds to choose from in the Premier League.

It’ll be a blow to miss out on him for sure, but it won’t be the end of the world because Marsch has already stated that he didn’t need midfield strengthening in this window, so fans needn’t worry too much.

In other Leeds news, Phil Hay has dropped the name of a fourth January transfer target