It promises to be an exciting tie and one that could give the club confidence to finally end their 28-year wait for a major trophy.
Unai Emery has built a resilient side this season who have been outstanding thus far, but with the Midlands outfit battling it out in three competitions, he needs to add some depth to his squad.
The January transfer window is open for the next ten days, could the Spaniard delve into the market and bring in a player or two who could perhaps contribute heavily to their chase for glory over the next few months?
Aston Villa’s search for new signings
There have been no shortage of names linked with a move to Villa Park this month, but Emery is clearly being cautious with regards to who best to sign.
Adding players for the sake of it is just a recipe for disaster (just ask Chelsea supporters), but there has been one player who could certainly add something to this Villa side – Giovanni Reyna.
According to Football transfers last week, Villa are one of the clubs who are showing interest in the young Borussia Dortmund gem and the report goes on to claim that the club have made contact with the German side with hopes of luring him to the Premier League before the month is out.
The 6 foot 1 star is currently valued at €24.4m (£21m) according to Football Transfers and with a contract that expires in just 18 months, Emery may be able to secure the sensation for a knockdown price.
Benfica, Lyon, Sevilla and AS Monaco are also keeping tabs on the American starlet this month as they seek to offer him more game time away from the Bundesliga and perhaps a fresh start is what is required for him to reclaim his status as one of the most exciting youngsters on the continent.
Former Birmingham City sensation Jude Bellingham firmly has the tag of not only the best young player in Europe, but his recent displays for Real Madrid suggest that he could well be one of the finest players in the world at this current moment in time.
According to FBref, Reyna’s former teammate at Dortmund is currently the most comparable player to him and considering Bellingham’s impact this season, it suggests Emery could be signing a sublime player.
How Giovanni Reyna compares to Jude Bellingham
While Reyna has struggled for game time this term, making only 13 appearances in all competitions, the Madrid sensation has been on fire since arriving in Spain last summer.
He has scored a remarkable 18 goals and grabbed eight assists in just 26 games, which works out as a goal contribution every game and there is no question as to who is the brightest talent in Europe just now.
The duo share similar traits however, as according to WhoScored, both Reyna and Bellingham excel at finishing and passing, while they both like to dribble and perform layoffs, indicating that they share a similar playing style.
Five previous winners of the Golden Boy award
Not only that, but the pair have also registered similar statistics this season with regards to shots per 90 (2.47 vs 2.38), pass success rate per 90 (86.3% vs 87.2%), goal-creating actions per 90 (0.71 vs 0.47) and aerial duels won percentage (44.4% vs 44.7%), demonstrating that Reyna could certainly offer some wonderful qualities to Emery should he make the move to Villa this month, especially if he continues to perform in a Bellingham like fashion when he gets his chance.
Giovanni Reyna’s style of play
Reyna was hailed as having “something special” by his former boss at Dortmund, Lucien Favre and since making his debut for the club in the 2019/20 season, the attacking midfielder has since gone on to make 120 appearances for the club, scoring 17 goals and chipping in with 16 assists.
Not bad for a player who only turned 21 last November. This season has been a bit of a struggle however, as he has started only two competitive matches for the German side and this lack of game time could see him potentially seeking a move either this month or at the end of the season.
In an ideal world, Unai Emery could snap up three or four new faces this month to bolster his ranks.
Despite his lack of time on the pitch recently, Reyna still performs exceedingly well when compared to players in similar leagues.
When compared to positional peers in Europe via FBref, the Durham-born American international currently ranks in the top 1% for shot-creating actions (6.81), touches in the attacking penalty area (6.23) and total shots (3.48) per 90, along with ranking in the top 5% for successful take-ons per 90 (1.88) and the top 6% for progressive carries per 90 (3.04), clearly demonstrating his wonderful attacking skills over the previous 12 months.
Furthermore, Reyna can be deployed in a variety of positions and still perform well. during his career, the 21-year-old has played on the right and left wings along with his preferred role as an attacking midfielder and he has contributed goals and assists in all three positions.
This versatile nature could appeal to Emery and come in extremely useful if Villa are struggling for injuries to key players, with the manager knowing that Reyna would be able to thrive across a handful of different areas in the team.
This surely makes a move for him this month vital, especially considering how good he can be if he manages to secure a regular spot in the starting XI and performs how he did during his early career at Dortmund.
The statistical comparisons to Bellingham indicate that he is certainly a special player but has lacked the consistency to do it at the highest level of late due to a variety of injury problems.
Emery has shown he can get players firing and Reyna would be no different should he join the club in the near future.
With his contract close to expiry, this month is the best time to test Dortmund’s resolve and secure a talented young attacker for what could be a bargain price.