Former Cobblers youngster linked with move to Barcelona

Aston Villa teenager started his youth career at Sixfields
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Former Cobblers youngster and current Aston Villa midfielder Carney Chukwuemeka has been linked with an eye-catching move to Spanish giants Barcelona.

The 18-year-old started out in Northampton’s academy but was poached by Villa at the age of 14. He is the younger brother of striker Caleb Chukwuemeka who also came through the youth ranks at Sixfields before leaving for the same destination last summer.

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Carney earned rave reviews for his performances with Villa’s youth team in their run to FA Youth Cup glory in 2020/21 and he continued to impress when promoted to the senior side under Steven Gerrard last term, making 12 league appearances. His success continued this summer when helping guide England to the U19s European title.

Carney Chukwuemeka.Carney Chukwuemeka.
Carney Chukwuemeka.

However, with his contract entering its final 12 months at Villa Park, the teenager has been the subject of constant transfer speculation. He is yet to agree a new deal and has been linked with a clutch of clubs, including Manchester City and now Barcelona.

Well-known football transfer journalist Fabrizio Romano reported on Monday evening that the Spanish giants hold a ‘serious interest’ in Chukwuemeka. It was stated that he is viewed by the Catalan club as a player with ‘huge potential’ that would be available for a ‘training compensation’ as early as January, if he doesn’t sign a new deal with Villa.

Chukwuemeka left Cobblers under the Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP) so the club would receive money should he sign for a new club, although the exact amount would depend on the details of any move.

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Providing an update, Gerrard said: "As far as I know they haven't progressed. We've done everything we can from our side to try and make them progress. I'm not sure where that's up to at the moment.

"He's hopefully going to be a big player for Aston Villa. We want him to stay here long-term. We believe it's the right place for Carney and, again, myself and the staff have shown huge trust putting an 18-year-old in but we wouldn't do it if we didn't think he was ready, or have the ability not to cope.”