After Aston Villa confirmed an agreement has been reached with Chelsea over the signing of Carney Chukwuemeka, the club’s stance has undoubtedly lessened the disappointment.
Chukwuemeka, 18, has been touted as one of our most exciting young prospects in a group that lifted the FA Youth Cup two years ago and several have pushed on to knock on the door for a role under Steven Gerrard since.
Having impressed at youth level, Chukwuemeka was handed his Premier League debut by former boss Dean Smith at the end of the 2020/21 campaign, while he was given further opportunities to impress under Gerrard with 12 appearances in the top flight last year including two starts.
The youngster managed just one assist in 294 minutes of playing time, and so while it was still early in his career as he adjusted and adapted to first-team football, his overall contribution was slightly underwhelming given the excitement surrounding him.
Nevertheless, Villa were ready to give him a role under Gerrard in the upcoming campaign, and as reported by the Express and Star, a contract offer has been on the table for Chukwuemeka since around May as we looked to convince him to commit his long-term future to the club with his current contract set to expire next year.
That offer and talks have seemingly fallen on deaf ears, as the club have confirmed an agreement has been reached with Chelsea over the permanent transfer of Chukwuemeka, while BBC Sport’s Phil McNulty has reported that the transfer fee is expected to be £20m.
So while losing a top talent is never ideal, VIlla’s stance throughout this saga has been faultless…
Villa make intentions clear, did everything to keep Chukwuemeka
As noted above, Villa’s contract offer for Chukwuemeka has been on the table for him for months. We made it clear we wanted him to stay for the long haul, we’ve been patient with him and he has gradually been worked into a bigger role with a clear path in the first team.
It’s likely that the contract offer was a lucrative one given the level of interest in him, and so Villa couldn’t have done much more in terms of guaranteeing him more playing time or more money, for the level he is currently at.
With ongoing uncertainty and a desire to keep that away from the rest of the group, Villa made the correct decision to leave the teenager at home during our pre-season tour of Australia, and now we have a clearer picture as to why as he evidently wants to move on elsewhere.
On top of that, with the very real risk of losing him for a minimal fee next year when his contract expires, Villa have moved swiftly to get a deal done this summer knowing that Chukwuemeka wasn’t going to sign a new deal with us, and instead we’ve pocketed a hefty £20m fee that can be reinvested into the squad.
From start to finish, the Villa management and Gerrard have acted faultlessly, and while it’s a disappointment that Chukwuemeka will now move on, we also have plenty of top youngsters coming through and the option of adding more reinforcements if necessary to move on and arguably come away from this better for it.