Aston Villa are closing in on a place in the top half of the Premier League table after they beat Jesse Marsch's Leeds United 2-1 at Villa Park on Friday night.

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The Villans remained 11th in the division but are now three points behind Chelsea on 28 points and six points behind Fulham in sixth, whilst they are 10 points clear of the bottom three.

Unai Emery is pushing the club up the table and the Spanish head coach may look to utilise the January transfer window to improve his team's chances of competing for a place in Europe for the 2023/24 campaign.

He has already brought in Spanish defender Alex Moreno in from Real Betis and Football Insider recently claimed that the club are working to secure a deal for a winger this month, with Villarreal's Samuel Chukwueze among their top targets.

Emery could now land his own version of Manchester City superstar Kevin De Bruyne by working with Johan Lange to strike a deal for his former attacker.

The manager worked with the Nigerian forward during his time in charge at Villarreal and this means that the gem would arrive with a pre-existing relationship with the head coach. This could help him to settle in quickly and hit the ground running, as he already knows how the Spaniard wants his team to play, which is ideal for a signing coming in midway through the season.

Chukwueze, who has been hailed as "flamboyant" and a "game-changer" by talent scout Jacek Kulig, has shown plenty of promise and his statistics in Spain indicate that he could add a significant amount of creativity to the Villa squad.

De Bruyne currently leads the way for assists in the Premier League with 10 in 18 appearances so far - after managing 40 assists in the previous three top-flight campaigns combined.

The 31-year-old Belgian international has proven himself to be an elite playmaker and Chukwueze could be Villa's own version of the dynamo as FBref lists De Bruyne as one of the most similar players to him.

Over the last 365 days, the Nigerian gem has created 0.29 xG - ranking in the top 2% of players in his position - and been provided with 0.25 non-penalty xG per 90 in Europe's top five leagues and European competition.

This essentially means that the forward has been consistently creating high-quality shots for his teammates and has been getting into excellent positions to score for himself.

De Bruyne, meanwhile, has delivered 0.48 xG for his teammates - ranking in the top 1% - and racked up 0.24 xG from his own shots per 90, which leaves both players in the top 1% of players in their position for non-penalty xG and assisted xG per 90 over the last 365 days.

This indicates that they are elite players in the final third in terms of the threat that they provide in creating chances and their positioning to score for themselves, which is why Villa could land their own De Bruyne by signing Chukwueze, who is reportedly valued at €50m (£44m).