Samuel Chukwueze is set to be the subject of a possible transfer battle between Premier League side Aston Villa and Real Madrid.
Chukwueze, who joined Villarreal's youth setup after their scouts picked up on him in Nigeria, has been playing for the senior team since 2018, barely one-year after joining the club's youth teams.
He has been a strong squad option for the four-and-a-half seasons he has been a first team player for the Yellow Submarine. However, in the 2021/22 season, he became a more prominent member of the squad and in the current season, is one of the first names on the team sheet.
He has rewarded the faith in him with 13 goals and 11 assists in all competitions for the team this season. As a result, he is a candidate for the team's player of the season. He has also drawn the admiration of many clubs across Europe who are willing to negotiate his €80 million release clause with the Valencia-based club in the summer.
One of those clubs is Real Madrid, whose president Florentino Perez witnessed the Super Eagles star run riot at the Santiago Bernabeu in early April 2023. It is believed that Los Blancos chief wants to have a trident of Chukwueze-Benzema-Vinicius Jr next season and is talking with Villarreal president Fernando Roig about the possibility.
It is unknown what the true extent of Perez's interest in the 23-year-old forward is. However, he could be drawn into a transfer battle with Premier League side Aston Villa, who have thrown their hat in the ring thanks to manager Unai Emery.
Emery managed Villarreal in the last two seasons to great success. He won the UEFA Europa League and led them to the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League before being snapped up by Aston Villa a few months into the ongoing season.
Chukwueze was one of his key players in those times and now, the former Arsenal man is looking to reconnect with him at Villa Park.
Chukwueze is reported to have asked his agent to prioritise Real Madrid after learning of the club's interest in him. He is believed to be doing so thanks to his comfortability with the league and the possibility of emulating his idol, Cristiano Ronaldo, who also caught Madrid's attention when he was the same age.
A move to Villa Park seems more feasible, however, thanks to the winger's release clause. Madrid have multiple targets worth over €100 million in their sights in the coming transfer windows and not even Los Blancos can afford to spend as much as €80 million on top of these signings.
The jury is also still out for Chukwueze on a possible switch to Villa Park in the coming transfer window. The reason is that Aston Villa's record transfer fee to date is £33 million, which they spent on acquiring Emiliano Buendia from Norwich City in 2021.
The Super Eagles winger could end up seeing out his contract at El Madrigal and leave for free in 2024 if Villarreal do not deem it fit to renew him.
This article was most recently revised and updated 10 months ago