Villa youngsters with big opportunity to earn place in Emery’s plans

After Aston Villa’s relatively quiet January transfer window, the seven exits from the senior squad have now opened up a chance for the club’s youngsters.

While Ludwig Augustinsson and Jan Bednarek were recalled from their loan spells, Danny Ings and Frederic Guilbert left on permanent deals as Morgan Sanson, Marvelous Nakamba and Cameron Archer all secured moves on loan for the rest of the season.

READ MORE: Double injury boost for Emery ahead of Villa clash with Leicester

Those departures have raised concern for some over the lack of depth in the squad and what the impact of injuries and suspensions might have, but there is no doubt that Unai Emery methodically thought about every move that was made last month.

Clearing space in the squad sets us up for a big summer as he’ll certainly hope to bring in more reinforcements then, and given how much improvement he’s already overseen since taking charge in October, there should be every faith in his ability to continue to get more out of this current group.

One aspect of the decision to hold fire with new signings in January that is arguably being underplayed though is that perhaps Emery has seen something in the youth options at his disposal to feel confident that we can maintain our recent march up the table.

Kadan Young and Arjan Raikhy have been involved with the senior squad at times since Emery took charge, and although it’s been limited to making the bench here and there and getting minutes during the World Cup break, it still shows that he’s willing to involve our talented youngsters.

While we did allow several to move out on loan again, Tommi O’Reilly continues to shine at youth level and Kaine Kesler Hayden is still with us as things stand, and those are two bright prospects who hopefully have a big future ahead in a Villa shirt.

Given the level of development and improvement we’ve seen in senior players under Emery, it’s exciting to think how he can oversee the progress of these young individuals and help them establish themselves in the first-team squad.

Naturally, it’s hoped that we’re not in a position where we have no choice but to promote them and place a lot of pressure and responsibility on them, but there is a real chance in the coming months for the likes of Kesler Hayden, O’Reilly and others to make an impression if they are called upon.

Looking beyond this season, we’ll welcome Archer, Tim Iroegbunam, Aaron Ramsey and others back from loan stints elsewhere, and who’s to say that the relentless analytical football mind of Emery hasn’t been studying these players closely and assessing where they fit into his plans moving forward.

Time will reveal what those plans are, but it can’t be ruled out that we’ll tap into the talent pool within the club under the Spanish tactician to complement new arrivals, and so that could be another major benefit of focusing on clearing the decks last month and making fundamental changes in the summer instead of splashing out big fees on Plan B or Cs that were never really a priority for us.

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