Aston Villa's Argentina duo may return

Emi Buendia and Emi Martinez could both feature for Villa against Everton on Saturday despite not returning to the club until hours before kick-off.

Aston Villa's Emi Buendia
Aston Villa's Emi Buendia

The pair have spent more than a week training in Croatia in order to avoid hotel quarantine following their involvement in Argentina’s World Cup qualifying campaign and are currently not expected back in the UK until Saturday morning.

Villa host Everton at 5.30pm that evening but it is anticipated both players will be considered for selection by boss Dean Smith despite the tight schedule.

Buendia and Martinez have been away from Bodymoor Heath for nearly three weeks after reaching a compromise with the club which allowed them to travel for the first two of Argentina’s three scheduled qualifiers, despite the fixtures being played in red-list countries.

The second of those matches, in Brazil, was abandoned in farcical circumstances when health officials objected to the participation of Martinez and Tottenham duo Giovani Lo Celso and Cristian Romero.

Martinez and Buendia then travelled to Croatia, where they have been using the facilities of Hajduk Split in order to stay in shape. Had they returned directly to the UK, they would have been forced to spend 10 days quarantining in a government hotel.

The compromise agreement with Villa meant both players missed last Saturday’s 3-0 defeat at Chelsea.

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