Aston Villa already have a plan to replicate Chelsea transfer success

Swindon Town U17's Harley Hunt (R)
-Credit: (Image: Chris Vaughan - CameraSport)


Buy for thousands, sell for millions. It might be a wrench for some at Aston Villa, and those outside the club who follow them, to see the likes of Tim Iroegbunam and Omari Kellyman leave this summer, but at the very least their sales - however much they've been prompted by PSR rule enforcements - prove that their approach to building the academy has been the correct one in recent years.

Neither Iroebgunam or Kellyman began at Villa, after all. They were both identified from elsewhere, bought for relatively small fees by way of compensation and developed accordingly within the walls of Bodymoor Heath. Sil Swinkels, Josh Feeney, Jamal Jimoh and Kerr Smith are among a host of young players who have targeted and snapped up from rival clubs.

Clearly, Villa can do it themselves too. Aside from the most obvious example of Jack Grealish, Unai Emery routinely includes Jacob Ramsey and Kaine Kesler-Hayden in his match-day squad, while they've earned money from the sales of Jaden Philogene, Finn Azaz, Carney Chukwuemeka, Aaron Ramsey and the returning Cameron Archer in recent years.

Villa have proven to be prudent in how they've handled young players, though, generally knowing when the right time is to sell. Yes, there are mitigating factors at play right now as regards to PSR - if Villa could spend freely, they'd likely not be selling Iroegbunam for £9m to a top flight rival, instead alternatively perhaps considering another loan move for the midfielder.

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They'd not be selling Kellyman for £19m - namely because that offer would almost certainly not be on the table from Chelsea if clubs like Villa could spend freely and weren't cornered into having to raise money by the end of each season in order to comply with the rules. Still, despite all of this - and despite the fact that there have been plenty of costly errors at first-team level - at academy level they're very much in credit.

There are now links with Harley Hunt. He is the 16-year-old defender at Swindon Town who has also attracted the interest of newly promoted Southampton and who the League Two Robins want as much as £500,000 by way of remuneration if they're to part with him this summer. Hunt is a centre half who has already been involved in the Swindon first-team - he made three appearances at the end of last season, including two starts.

The process begins again. Like so many before, Villa are on the look-out for the next wave of promising young talent from around the EFL and beyond. Who knows? Hunt might be worth millions in the future if he ends up at Villa Park and fulfils his potential - Villa don't want to be solely a selling club, though, at academy level or otherwise, as their on-field ambitions continue to rise. There's the rub of these PSR rules in their current guise.

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