Youri Tielemans was one of the most sought-after free agents in world football this summer but decided to sign for Aston Villa amid apparent interest from Arsenal and Man United

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Youri Tielemans has taken aim at manager Unai Emery for his lack of game time since moving to Aston Villa.

The Belgian midfielder quit Leicester this summer at the end of his contract, with the Foxes suffering a shock relegation to the Championship. He eventually put pen to paper on a four-year contract with a move across the Midlands to Villa.

It hasn’t quite gone the way Tielemans will have wanted since arriving at the club, however. The former Anderlecht and Monaco star has made six appearances for his new club this term, just one of those being starts - that coming in the second-leg of Villa’s Europa Conference League playoff against Hibernian when already 5-0 up on aggregate.

Now, he has publicly declared his displeasure with the situation facing him under Emery. Speaking whilst on international duty, the 26-year-old said: “The situation is not pleasant.

“I told the manager that I came to Villa to play. He understands me, but at the moment, he prefers to play with the two midfielders from last season. He told me that soon, there will be a succession of games and I’ll get more playing time.

“I know that answer doesn’t get me anywhere, but what should I do? As soon as I get the opportunity, I want to take it. So far, I’ve started once, in the Conference League.”

Youri Tielemans Youri Tielemans completed a free transfer to Aston Villa earlier this summer (


Getty Images)

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Tielemans’ latest admission comes just weeks after he praised former Arsenal boss Emery for the key role he played in convincing him to move to Aston Villa. Speaking to club media after his arrival from Leicester was confirmed, the midfielder said: “Unai’s ambition, his passion and the way he led the team impressed me and made me decide to come to Aston Villa.

“It’s a big club. I’m really excited. It’s a new challenge for me after four-and-a-half years at Leicester. It’s been a good time but now is the time to move on for myself and my family.Now I’m at Aston Villa, I’m really looking forward to it. I can’t wait to get started.”

Ahead of moving to Villa, Tielemans was linked with a host of clubs in the Premier League following his performances for Leicester. Manchester United and Arsenal were both reportedly long-term admirers of his.

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Links with the Red Devils continued ahead of this summer’s transfer window, with eagle-eyed fans spotting him in a friendly exchange with Erik ten Hag during United’s 3-0 win over Leicester last term. They did indeed bolster their midfield options this summer but Tielemans was not one of their arrivals.

Mason Mount was signed for £60m from Chelsea, with Sofyan Amrabat then subsequently arriving from Italian side Fiorentina on a season-long loan deal. Arsenal were also in the market for a midfielder and broke the British transfer record with the signing of Declan Rice from West Ham.

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