Aston Villa must avoid a major disaster over Carney Chukwuemeka after his latest masterclass for the youth side.
Reports in recent days and weeks have suggested that the likes of Manchester United and Manchester City are interested in signing the 17-year-old, with The Athletic’s Gregg Evans adding that clubs from across Europe are also keeping an eye on things too.
And if Villa needed any fresh reminder that they absolutely have to keep him, then his starring performance in the FA Youth Cup certainly sent a huge message to Dean Smith and the rest of the club’s hierarchy.
Dubbed a “star in the making” by Evans, Chukwuemeka bagged himself a stunning hat-trick in Villa’s 6-1 thrashing over Newcastle to reach the semi-finals of the FA Youth Cup.
And, writing in his post-match player ratings for The Birmingham Mail, Ashley Preece was understandably fulsome in his praise, giving him a perfect ten and adding: “This was a Carney Chukwuemeka masterclass. It was a clinic in how to play an advanced midfield role with the 17-year-old oozing confidence and swagger. The hype’s real surrounding this kid who, as supporters know, has been around Dean Smith’s first team for a long time now. Villa’s No.10 started almost every attack and looked to hurt Newcastle at every opportunity.
“European clubs are hovering looking to take Chukwuemeka and Villa could do with reassuring him that his future’s at Villa Park. He’s ready for some Premier League minutes. A scary talent who assisted Reddin as well. Unreal. He’s got everything.”
Knowing that the club could stand to lose one of their prized young assets, even after proving his value and potential, would surely infuriate NSWE.
Bringing in new players for big money is all well and good, but having a good academy system that can provide a couple of genuine first-team stars is always key to a club’s future – you only have to look at Jack Grealish to see that.
Losing Chukwuemeka would be a monumental mistake from Smith and co.