New manager Unai Emery has reportedly ‘instructed’ Aston Villa to make a move for Newcastle United target Nicolas Jackson.
The former Arsenal manager was appointed as successor to Steven Gerrard last week after being persuaded to leave Villarreal and return to the Premier League. Emery is already considering several options to improve his newly-inherited squad and is said to be keen to raid his old club to take Senegal international Jackson to Villa Park.
The 21-year-old into the senior setup at the La Liga club under Emery and has now firmly established himself in their side after producing several eye-catching displays. Although he failed to find the net in nine senior appearances last season, Jackson got off the mark with a goal in 3-0 win over Real Valladolid on the opening day of the current campaign.
Speaking about the forward earlier this season, Emery told Spanish outlet AS: “He is a player who is in the process of growing. There are times when some players have to go elsewhere to grow, but we are betting on him because his contribution is very high. He must get experience in front of goal and this is a learning process. We need to establish young players and we want to bet on them.”
Jackson’s form has also attracted interest from Newcastle and Everton, who are both keen to strengthen their attacking options during the January transfer window. The Daily Mail has now revealed Barcelona have also joined the race for the forward, who will be available on a free transfer when his current Villarreal contract expires next summer.
Emery is said to be keen on handing the forward a first chance to impress in the Premier League and wants Villa to negotiate a pre-contract agreement with Jackson during the early weeks of the new year.