It seems Aston Villa may have to face some fierce competition to sign Álex Baena from Villarreal.

Amid the links between Unai Emery’s side and the 22-year-old, the Catalan media reports that Barcelona may have entered that race as well.

Jigantes, relayed by Sport, claims that Barça director Deco had a restaurant meeting with ACC Stellar chief Joshua Barnett.

The conversation reportedly took place to talk about some of the agency’s clients, but there’s some focus on Baena, who has Xavi as a big fan.

This time, despite the recent links coming from the Spanish media, there’s no mention of Aston Villa following the midfielder.

Recent reports have been claiming that the Villans are keen on Baena, with Damiàn Vidagany even personally scouting the player a couple of weeks ago.

The midfielder is protected by a €60m release clause, and claims from the Spanish media said Aston Villa could afford that amount. Now it remains to be seen how strongly Barcelona could join that race, while it’s also been said that Atlético Madrid want the youngster.