Villa youngster making ideal impact on loan, stakes claim ahead of summer

While there’s no denying that Cameron Archer has a big future ahead of him, it was important that Aston Villa found the right loan spell for him this season.

The 21-year-old has shown a real eye for goal throughout his young career thus far, notably impressing during his loan spell with Preston North End last season while also shining when given opportunities at senior level for Villa.

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While there was real excitement about the decision to keep him in the squad at the start of the season, things ultimately didn’t go to plan for Archer under former boss Steven Gerrard, as he was severely limited and was rarely given an opportunity which in turn risked stunting his progress.

It’s clear at this stage of his career that he needs to play regular football, gain experience and continue to develop his all-round game, and we’re starting to see that come to fruition at Middlesbrough.

After bagging a brace against Sheffield United on Wednesday night, that’s now three goals and two assists in Archer’s last four Championship appearances for Michael Carrick’s side, and it looks as though the talented youngster is once again showing his quality and his clinical ability in front of goal.

In the short-term, it’s hoped that he can maintain this form and really make a point that he is ready to play a bigger role at Villa next season. Looking further ahead, he’ll no doubt be desperate to force Unai Emery to consider whether or not we need to sign another striker in the summer, or if he is indeed a real solution for him.

Villa could find ourselves left short of firepower for the remainder of this campaign as there is significant responsibility on the shoulders of Ollie Watkins, while youngster Jhon Duran certainly looks a handful already as he continues to adapt and adjust to life in England.

After the sale of Danny Ings, there is arguably an important option missing to provide competition and depth in that area of the squad, but was the decision to approve an exit for Ings made with the progression of Archer in mind?

As he continues to shine again in Middlesbrough’s promotion push, it’s hoped that Archer is an absolute lock-in to have a long-term future at Villa. Having seen him score goals so regularly at club level and for England U21s, it would be a huge shame and really poor decision to allow him to leave permanently in the summer, if the likes of Middlesbrough come knocking.

There is no buy option in his current loan agreement and so that would indicate that Villa are planning to have him around moving forward, but things can certainly change quickly in football if Emery has his sights set on other possible transfer targets.

For now though, it’s great to see Archer flourishing again and that Villa found the right spot for him so that he can showcase his quality. It’s hoped that he continues this form between now and the end of the season, and this summer could then be a real opportunity for him to cement his place in the Villa squad, and even in the starting XI, as he continues to stake an early claim with his form on Teesside.

Given all the talk of the relentless and in-depth analysis that Emery and his coaching staff undertake, there is certainly no doubt that they will be watching on closely and tracking Archer’s impact and development ahead of making big decisions on how they construct the squad this summer.

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