Who is Luiz Henrique? Analysis of touted Villa transfer target

Aston Villa are reportedly stepping up our interest in Real Betis ace Luiz Henrique, as Unai Emery continues to look for ways to stamp his mark on the squad.

Villa have already confirmed the signings of Alex Moreno and Jhon Duran so far this month, and while others have departed to trim the group, further additions are expected before the transfer deadline.

READ MORE: Emery eyes Plan B as Villa move on from failed pursuit of £45m target

Emery has insisted consistently since he arrived that he will only sign players who significantly improve what he already has at his disposal, but he has been forthcoming on what he feels he needs to add, with a winger specifically on his transfer shortlist, as reported by Sky Sports.

Mucho Deporte have reported that after falling short in our pursuit of Athletic Bilbao’s Nico Williams, Villa have now switched our attention to Henrique, and so it remains to be seen if we’ll have better luck prising him away, which would be the second piece of business we do with Betis this month following Moreno’s arrival.

The report notes that the La Liga side want up to €60m for their star youngster, while it’s suggested that if Emery and Villa step up their interest, anything can happen in the coming days and so the door is open to a possible transfer.

Time will tell if a deal can be agreed, but what would Henrique bring to Villa if he were to join us?

Analysis, profile and stats on Villa transfer target Luiz Henrique

Henrique, 22, came through the youth ranks at Fluminense, and after scoring 14 goals and providing 13 assists in 118 appearances for the club, he secured a move to Betis last summer in a deal worth €13m, as per the Mucho Deporte report above.

The Brazilian ace has enjoyed a positive start to life in Spain with three goals and five assists in 24 appearances for Betis, and aside from Villa, he has caught the eye of several other clubs around Europe with speculation rife in recent months.

Just shy of 5ft’10, Henrique is physical, agile, athletic and has a great burst of pace. Combined with his technical ability and flair, he has shown his quality so far this season and has great potential, albeit there is naturally plenty of room for improvement in his game still given his age.

The most consistent criticism or observation is that his decision-making and end product still needs improvement, as he has a tendency to not pick his head up enough to find the right final ball and be more decisive after getting into threatening positions.

However, as seen in the video below, where he has shown quality is his skill on the ball, running at defenders with speed, taking players on and attacking spaces in the final third to cause the opposition a real headache.

When considering how he would possibly adapt to the Premier League if a move did materialise, Henrique has shown a lot of tenacity and strength in his game to date which is promising, while he certainly has energy and determination to put in a shift for his team.

It will be fascinating to see if he emerges as a priority before the deadline, and there is of course faith in Emery’s judgement if he is a marquee signing for us this month as well as in the Spaniard’s ability to develop his talent if he gets the chance to work with him.

Villa are lacking an option in that role on the right side who can provide genuine width and an attacking threat with the ball, albeit there are some similar characteristics to Leon Bailey. However, with the likes of John McGinn, Jacob Ramsey and others featuring in that position and having a natural tendency to drift inside, Henrique would offer something different and could be an added offensive weapon for Emery moving forward.

That said, €60m is a hefty price-tag that raises question marks over the touted interest, and so it will be interesting to see if Henrique is a player that Emery is adamant about bringing in to bolster his squad.