Following Steven Gerrard’s appointment as Aston Villa’s new manager last week, the 41-year-old has been linked with a host of players that he could look to bring into Villa Park in the upcoming January transfer window.
And, considering the incredible success the former Liverpool captain achieved with a number of players in his former Rangers side, such as Ryan Kent, Joe Aribo, Glen Kamara and Nathan Patterson – all of whom have been tipped for a reunion with Gerrard at the second city side – perhaps these rumours should not come as a surprise.
However, before the manager goes splashing the clash on incoming signings this winter, it may well be wise to take a closer look at some of Villa’s up and coming talents before doing so – with Carney Chukwuemeka being arguably the most promising of the club’s academy products at present.
Being dubbed as “the best 16-year-old in England” by Aston Villa chief executive Christian Purslow last year, exactly how high expectations are for the future of Chukwuemeka amongst those at Villa are clear for all to see.
Indeed, it is equally easy to understand why Purslow holds this belief about the central midfielder, as, over his 26 appearances for Villa’s U18 side, the £2.25m-rated man knocked up a highly impressive ten goals and eight assists, in addition to bagging a further three goals and five assists for the club’s U23 side.
These returns led to reports that both Manchester City and Manchester United started to keep a very close eye on the progression of the recently turned 18-year-old, while the likes of Liverpool, Bayern Munich, Juventus, RB Leipzig, Monaco and PSV have also been credited with an interest in the England U19 international.
However, despite his abundance of potential, Chukwuemeka has so far played just 81 minutes of Premier League football for Aston Villa, something that Birmingham Live suggest could see the youngster tempted into a move away from Villa Park upon the end of his current contract in the summer of 2023.
And, with Jack Grealish very much being the archetypical example of how important an academy graduate can become when given the opportunity, in addition to the not-dissimilar level of talent Chukwuemeka possesses in comparison to that of the £90m-rated Manchester City man when he was first coming through, it would seem highly advisable for Gerrard to start unleashing the 18-year-old on a much more regular basis in the coming weeks.
The youngster could just end up saving the club millions of pounds in the January transfer window.