Patience crucial but confidence in Emery’s ability to develop Villa youngster

Having finally officially announced the signing of Jhon Duran, Aston Villa boss Unai Emery will now begin his work with the talented young striker.

As per the club’s official statement, Duran has joined us from Chicago Fire, where he scored eight goals and provided five assists in 27 MLS appearances.

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While he’s also made his breakthrough at senior level for Colombia, there is still a long way to go for the 19-year-old who remains inexperienced in terms of competing at the top level, and so this is a fundamental period in his career as he takes the next step.

Speaking in his press conference last week after Villa confirmed that an agreement had been reached to sign Duran, Emery stressed that he wasn’t going to put too much pressure or responsibility on the youngster’s shoulders and that his more immediate focus was to help him with his adaptation.

Moving to a new country at such a young age, adjusting to the change in lifestyle, his new environment, his teammates, the facilities and the opposition, it’s going to be a lot for Duran initially. While the club is evidently confident in his ability given the investment we’ve made in his potential, it’s imperative that we bring him through gradually at the right pace.

Duran will undoubtedly need time and patience as he goes through that process, but he certainly looks a real talent and an exciting addition to the Villa squad given his physical attributes and what he has shown thus far. With his technical quality, power, pace, awareness on the pitch and the combination of vision and passing to link things together, he could be a real asset for Villa.

Perhaps the most reassuring thing from a Villa fan perspective but also for Duran himself though, is that he has an elite-level coach now to help develop and progress his game moving forward, and there is every confidence in Emery’s ability to really unlock the talent that he possesses.

We’ve seen significant improvements in Villa as a collective since the Spanish tactician took charge in November, but several players across the pitch have all raised their game on an individual level too. A number of senior members of the squad have spoken publicly about Emery’s attention to detail and relentless analysis, and that level of commitment and determination to improve his players will no doubt have a positive impact and benefit for Duran now too.

With a lack of options beyond Ollie Watkins up front, the expectation is that we will see Duran in action before long. However, if Emery decides that he’s not ready, then we should accept his judgement and allow him to work closely with the young Colombian until he is.

Given his track record and what he has done since he arrived at Villa, Emery is certainly qualified to help Duran take his game to the next level and it’s going to be a fascinating and exciting watch to see the progression in the coming months as we try to turn him into an integral member of the squad.