Aston Villa are closing in on their fourth summer signing of the window as some transfer news emerges on their pursuit of a West Brom starlet.
Dean Smith’s side have gotten off to a fantastic start this summer in terms of their recruitment, with Emi Buendia, Ashley Young and Josh Feeney having already walked through the door at Villa Park.
And now, The Birmingham Mail have revealed that the Midlands club are now set to sign Tim Iroegbunam from the Baggies, with the teenager actually having been named as the Hawthorns side’s academy player of the year.
It’s said: “The 18-year-old, described as “combative and all-action” by Albion coaches, will look to link up with former teammate Louie Barry at Villa with the pair remaining close friends off the pitch. BirminghamLive has been told that Iroegbunam has turned down a new and improved contract at The Hawthorns in favour of moving to Villa Park.”
While a deal for an 18-year-old prodigy with no real first-team action to his name is hardly the kind of big-money signing that would indicate a statement of ambition from Villa, it really is when you scratch a little under the surface.
The club’s impending deal for Iroegbunam is a sign that the club are moving in the right direction and are able to lure some of the best young talents from around the country to Villa Park – even those from local rivals.
It’s an indication of the kind of long-term planning that is in place at the Midlands club, and how transfer windows aren’t simply about reinforcing the first-team squad but also strengthening the youth system.
The likes of Louie Barry and Lamare Bogarde in recent seasons are a testament to that, and has set Villa’s future up very well.
So while the signings of the likes of Buendia, Young and Feeney already this summer shows Smith’s side are keen on doing smart business early, the arrival of Iroegbunam is an exciting one because of his age, where he’s coming from, and what it shows about Villa’s ambition under NSWE.