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Aston Villa set to sign Ian Maatsen for over £35 million

Aston Villa have agreed a deal to sign left-back Ian Maatsen from Chelsea, according to The Athletic.

Villa are preparing for a return to the UEFA Champions League and are keen on bolstering their squad for the challenge.

They have turned to Maatsen, who is coming off the back of a successful loan spell at Borussia Dortmund.

The 22-year-old joined BVB in the second half of last season after failing to nail down a starting berth at Stamford Bridge. He recorded two goals and two assists in 16 Bundesliga appearances, helping Dortmund keep six clean sheets.

He was also a mainstay as they reached the UEFA Champions League final, although he made a costly error against Real Madrid.

The Dutchman had a £35 million release clause specifically applicable to Dortmund, which has expired.

Villa and Chelsea have now agreed on a transfer fee slightly exceeding that amount, with personal terms already in place for a six-year contract at Villa Park. Finalising the contract details is the only remaining hurdle.

Villa manager Unai Emery is a big admirer of Maatsen’s ability and reportedly pushed the club to get the deal over the line.

His arrival strengthens their defensive options and injects a little experience as they prepare for the challenges of UCL football.

Chelsea’s decision to sell Maatsen will leave a bitter taste in the mouth of fans who want to see their homegrown stars represent the club.

Chelsea sporting directors Laurence Stewart and Paul Winstanley have put several of the club’s Cobham Academy graduates up for sale to balance the books for the ludicrous spending on unproven talents.

Also, from a squad-building point of view, it makes no sense to sell the player. Ben Chilwell’s injury woes are well documented, and Marc Cucurella hasn’t plugged the gap despite the Blues shelling out £57 million for his signature.

Letting go of a talented academy graduate to retain two less reliable options seems like a needless gamble.

Even if Chelsea target another young left-back, it will raise eyebrows. Maatsen was already on their books. He is a proven performer, and they have let him go to a rival for ‘pure profit’.

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