Aston Villa have confirmed an agreement has been reached to sign Chicago Fire forward Jhon Duran, as we look set to welcome an exciting young talent to the club.
As per our official statement, an agreement is in place between the two clubs for the 19-year-old to make the move to England in a permanent transfer, with the formalities set to be wrapped up in the coming days.
ESPN have offered further details of the agreement, with the deal said to be worth an initial $18m [£14.75m], while there could be an additional $4m in performance-related bonuses.
It’s a significant investment from the club in a relatively unproven player, and so Unai Emery evidently believes that the youngster can become a pivotal figure in his plans moving forward.
So, who is Jhon Duran and what will he bring to Villa?
Analysis, profile of Jhon Duran
The 19-year-old is from Medellin in Colombia, the same city as a former Villa hero, Juan Pablo Angel.
Having come through the youth ranks at Envigado in his homeland through to senior level, he was signed by Chicago Fire in January 2022, and has wasted no time in showcasing his talent on a bigger stage to attract interest.
In 28 appearances for the MLS side, Duran has scored eight goals and provided six assists, and that in turn has helped him earn three caps at senior level for Colombia already.
With that in mind, it’s fair to say that he potentially has a big future ahead of him for club and country, but it’s vital that he continues to improve and develop his game given he’s still so young and inexperienced.
Emery and the club will no doubt have assessed him closely and believe that we can help him make that progression in order to become an influential part of the squad, and there is a lot to like about his raw talents and physical attributes that will hopefully help him acclimatise and adapt to the Premier League.
Duran is just over 6ft tall, is athletic, agile, mobile and has pace, and so he combines key attributes for a front man just in terms of what he brings physically. Add to that an eye for a pass to be able to create for others, good finishing ability and an aerial threat, he ticks a lot of important boxes.
One thing that Emery has stressed continuously when asked about Villa signings is that he wants to add different profiles to what he’s already got, to give us options and different ways in which we can win games. Duran brings attributes that we don’t have in our current options, and so it’s a savvy move from Villa with a lot of upside.
As we can see in the video below, Duran is a powerful runner with the ball at his feet, is strong and can be a threat in different ways whether it’s dropping deep to link play, running the channels and taking players on or providing a presence up top as a target man.
The job that Emery and his coaching staff do with Duran is going to be crucial if he is to make the step up in England. They’ve clearly identified the talent and strengths that they wanted to add to the Villa squad in the youngster, but now it’s about developing him into a player who can lead the Villa attack and fit into a system that he can flourish in, but also help others become increasingly influential too.
With his power, pace and finishing, it could be an excellent addition to a Villa side looking to counter quickly, but he also gives us an option up front to play a different way if needed. That’s the intriguing bit about the signing, as it promises to be a fascinating watch to see how he emerges as a fundamental piece in Emery’s Villa puzzle, as we’ve gone for a talent we can mould and develop rather than a more proven and ‘safe’ option.