Among all the fanfare of signing the likes of Ollie Watkins and Emiliano Martinez, there was one Aston Villa arrival that went rather under the radar in the summer transfer window: Lamare Bogarde.
The 16-year-old was snapped up by Dean Smith’s side from Dutch giants Feyernoord in late September, with interest in the holding midfielder first being reported by The Athletic way back in July, when it was suggested that both Arsenal and Tottenham were also very much interested in luring him to England.
In the end, Villa fended off competition from the two north London rivals, and it’s a move that could really come to pay off in the coming years.
The Netherlands have always had a great conveyor belt of talent – you only have to look at the kinds of players involved in Ajax’s Champions League run a couple of seasons ago to see that – and it’s so important for teams like Villa to do their homework and sign those young talents before they really burst onto the scene and see their values sky-rocket.
The 6 foot Bogarde is someone who the club has high hopes for, with academy manager, Mark Harrison, raving: “We are delighted to welcome Lamare to the club. He is a player with immense potential and the commitment that will go in to fulfilling that starts now.”
The club confirmed that in signing him, they beat clubs all over Europe to his signature, and that he would be going straight into the academy set-up at Villa Park.
The defensive midfield position is something Villa fans have seen real quality in over these past few years, with Idrissa Gueye now plying his trade for last season’s Champions League finalists, PSG, and Douglas Luiz currently occupying that spot.
Bogarde – who has represented the Netherlands at U15s and U16s level respectively – has already shone for Villa in the U18 Premier League this season, scoring one and assisting one against Reading on his debut.
And when you look at his record for Feyernoord’s youth sides, you see someone who despite being a holding midfielder, can also be a threat going forward, notching two goals and providing four assists in 19 games for the U17s.
Bogarde’s a name that Villa fans should be keeping a keen eye on over these coming years, and if he fulfills the kind of potential the club thinks he has, then they could have Gueye’s long-term successor on their hands.
In other news, Aston Villa must sign up this Championship star before next week.