When Jack Grealish departed Aston Villa over the summer, tears will have been streaming down the face of many supporters.
The dynamic playmaker was the poster boy of the Midlands, he was their academy gem, boyhood fan and club captain but he still departed Villa Park.
It was a difficult decision for Grealish to make but ultimately, money talks. As does the opportunity to win silverware, something he’ll have at Manchester City on a yearly basis.
He is already a star in Pep Guardiola’s team, scoring in the Champions League after a mega £100m move.
A major clause in his contract allowed the youngster to depart if that valuation was met and as a consequence, it’s set Villa up nicely from a financial point of view.
Christian Purslow’s plan was to use that money on several new players, identifying performers who each had a little piece of Grealish’s unique qualities.
Emiliano Buendia brought the supreme technical skills and creativity, Danny Ings the finishing ability and Leon Bailey the speed.
However, there is another player currently in their academy vying to become the certified next Grealish.
That happens to be Carney Chukwuemeka, a 17-year-old talent with the world at his feet.
The teenager has only played five times for Dean Smith’s first-team but it’s only a matter of time before he starts to make more waves at senior level.
Chukwuemeka is the definition of a wonderkid, someone who’s not only held in high esteem by coaches but also the club’s hierarchy.
Speaking about the talented midfielder in 2020, Purslow went as far as describing the youngster as the ‘best 16-year-old in the country’.
That’s incredibly high praise but it speaks volumes about the level of talent and potential he’s got in his locker.
Capable of playing as an attacking midfielder, the Villa academy starlet has a wonderful chance of making a name for himself in the Midlands.
He’s caught the eye of many pundits, including Paul Merson. His description and praise of Chukwuemeka was incredibly similar to how somebody assesses Grealish’s game.
Merson said: “He will be an absolute star. He glides across the pitch. He is a nice size. He gets on the ball. He looks for it and makes runs without the ball. I think Villa fans going away will definitely be talking about him.”
If there is one element of Grealish’s game that sticks out the most, it’s his ability to pick up the ball and elegantly flow across the pitch that makes him one of the most outstanding players in the English game.
The U23s manager Mark Delaney has also reserved special words for Chukwuemeka, commenting: “He’s a confident lad; will receive the ball anywhere on the pitch, under pressure and not under pressure. That’s what the manager likes; he comes into an environment and settles in quickly.”
With those assessments ringing fresh in your ears, it’s clear to see why he could be their next Grealish.
He is mesmeric with the ball at his feet and he also knows how to score goals, finding the net twice in three Premier League 2 outings this season.
Chukwuemeka is certainly one to watch out for.