Just six months into their respective loan spells away from Aston Villa, both Arjan Raikhy and Louie Barry have returned to the club.
The talented duo have both been recalled, as confirmed by the club, with Raikhy featuring just eight times for Stockport County, while Barry managed just six appearances for Ipswich Town.
Another Young Lion has returned to the club after Brad Young completed a loan spell at Carlisle United.
The striker joins Dominic Revan, Louie Barry and Arjan Raikhy in rejoining Villa this month. pic.twitter.com/Jhjl2KhZ49
— Aston Villa (@AVFCOfficial) January 4, 2022
At this stage of their respective careers, that is nowhere near enough playing time for them to gain the invaluable experience that they were essentially sent out to obtain, and so it’s the right decision in that regard from Villa to bring them back and consider their next moves.
Villa need to get big decisions right on Raikhy, Barry
Having emerged as fundamental figures in our successful FA Youth Cup run last season, both Raikhy and Barry will hopefully have important futures in a Villa shirt in the long term, and so getting their loan moves right is paramount in helping their development and progression in the coming years.
Ideally, a switch to Championship clubs would arguably be the best outcome for the pair, as it will allow them to test themselves at a higher level and really showcase their quality as they’ll get more time on the ball to display their attributes and against better opposition.
Particularly in the case of Raikhy, his vision, passing range and composure in the midfield needs to be developed in that environment as he has all the qualities to emerge as a really talented player and perhaps even a long-term solution to our issues in midfield currently.
A stylish, classy ball-playing midfielder in that deeper role, the 19-year-old was perhaps a slightly unsung hero in our FA Youth Cup run, with some of our attacking players perhaps receiving more of the limelight and plaudits for their excellent work too.
With an ability to sweep up in front of the defence and get us moving up the pitch with his excellent passing range, he has drawn comparisons with some elite former players in terms of the characteristics that they share, but time will tell just how far he can go, particularly in a Villa shirt.
As for Barry, it’s been an up and down career thus far for the 18-year-old, as he’s gone from earning a move to Barcelona’s youth team to leaving La Masia and rediscovering himself at Villa with a string of stand-out performances last year.
If he can get a loan move now to a club that will hand him an important role and give him the stage to go out and win games, we’ll hopefully see him get back on track and put the disappointment of his Ipswich spell behind him, albeit he would have still taken important lessons away from that stint at Portman Road.
While the focus this month is largely on allowing Steven Gerrard to stamp his mark on the senior Villa squad in the January transfer window, there is an important job at youth level that needs to be done with both Raikhy and Barry, and any additional young players who end up returning to Villa this month.
That has put pressure on the hierarchy and Mile Jedinak who oversees loan deals, as while we’ve done well by the likes of Kaine Kesler who is shining at Swindon Town, it’s now about finding an equally as rewarding switch for Raikhy and Barry in order to give them the best possible chance of securing a long-term future at Villa.
The expectation is that Gerrard will be backed in the transfer market to sign players that fit his ideas and style moving forward, but time will tell if he has a closer look at both Raikhy and Barry in training in the coming days and weeks and perhaps even decides that they are better served to train with the first team and get opportunities under his tutelage in the short-term future.