After a brief lull, Lee Kang-in (22-Real Mallorca) is being linked with a move to Aston Villa in the English Premier League (EPL). That’s because the Spanish Primera Liga is the place to be, and Aston Villa manager Unai Emery (52) is a world-class coach.
“Emery has completed his mission and is eyeing the Primera Liga,” Spanish outlet Estadio Deportivo reported on Monday (Aug. 29).
Earlier in the day, Douglas Lewis and Ollie Watkins combined for a 2-1 victory over Brighton & Hove Albion in the final match of the 38th round of the 2022-2023 EPL at Villa Park in Birmingham, England. Villa finished seventh in the league with 18 wins, seven draws and 13 defeats and 61 points, earning a spot in the UEFA Europa Conference for the 2023-2024 season. It was a remarkable achievement for the club, which fired struggling manager Steven Gerrard in October and brought in Emery in the middle of the season.
The Europa Conference League, which gives the winner a chance to qualify for the group stage of the UEFA Europa League the following year, requires a lot of reinforcements. Emery looked to Spain for the answer, as he has spent all but five of his 19 years as a coach there. This included three consecutive Europa League titles in three seasons with Sevilla and one Europa League title in two seasons with Villarreal.
“Aston Villa will be in the transfer market and Emery wants to fish in La Liga,” said Estadio Deportivo. It’s going to be a very busy summer, especially with Emery’s knowledge of Spanish football and his control over the transfer market. Lee Kang-in is one of them.”
Anyone familiar with the Spanish game knows that Lee is one of the best dribblers and chance-makers in La Liga this season. According to soccer stats site Sofascore, Lee has 86 successful dribbles this season, tied for third in that category among players in Europe’s top five leagues. The only players ahead of him are Vinicius Junior (Real Madrid – 108) and Lionel Messi (Paris Saint-Germain – 99). According to another statistical source, Opta, his dribbling success rate is well over 60%, which puts him at the top of his class.
He also excels at creating chances and has been the focal point of Mallorca’s attack this season, scoring six goals and providing six assists and winning the Official Man of the Match (MOTM) award six times. He is also recognized as an exceptional helper, with Bedard Mourinho, who scored his 14th goal of the season with an assist from Lee in the 36th round of La Liga against Valencia on April 26, posting a photo of himself with Lee on social media and writing “My little burader!”.
It’s a quality that Aston Villa desperately needs right now, making Lee’s move to the EPL a real possibility. In a recent article, Football Fancast 메이저놀이터 elaborated on why Lee could be the perfect partner for Watkins, stating that “Lee could be the perfect partner for Watkins”. Watkins is an ace striker for Aston Villa, with 15 goals and six assists in the EPL alone this season. However, he struggles to get forward, averaging just 0.53 successful dribbles per 90 minutes according to Football Reference.
“Lee, on the other hand, is averaging 2.83 successful dribbles per 90 minutes in La Liga this season, which puts him in the top 1% of strikers in Europe’s top five leagues last year. In this respect, the Mallorca ace compensates for Watkins’ deficiencies, meaning he could be the missing piece in Aston Villa’s attacking line.” “He has already proven to be a capable partner for Mourinho. If he can replicate his success in Mallorca with one of the sharpest strikers in the EPL (Watkins), this devilish duo could transform Emery’s squad.”