Following their arrival as our new owners, Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens not only helped keep the lights on at Aston Villa as we unexpectedly won promotion back to the Premier League, but we also saw very quick movement when it came to rebuilding, and then further improving our Academy setup.
In came the likes of Mark Harrison and others, and upon the arrival of Johan Lange it appeared our Academy would be more in lock step with recruitment moving forward and that we finally had a proper plan in place to ‘grow our own’ stars of the future.
With plenty of youngsters heading out for real experience at different levels in recent windows, we further bolstered the development curve with the recent appointments of Adam Henshall and Mile Jedinak as Head of Emerging Talents & Loans and Loan Player Development Coach.
As well as building for the now, we clearly have an eye on a few years down the line and having often commented on where Villa have been sat when it came to Financial Fair Play in recent years, our recent behind the scenes changes have gone over well with Kieran Maguire.
Writing in his column for Football Insider, Maguire explained how he felt we could potentially save ‘huge sums’ in the near future following our scouting and Academy investments.
“For an ambitious club like Villa, it’s absolutely essential. Because every time you have a player that comes through the ranks, it’s saving you money. You save the fee entirely if it’s someone recruited at youth level. You want to make sure you buy players in the right ballpark.”
“Villa and, say, Everton have got owners who are very similar in nature. They need someone that’s good at recruitment because, yes, they will be wanting to sign good footballers but they aren’t able to go out and spend £500m on players in the £50-60m bracket in a single season. As a result of that, every player that comes through the ranks is potentially saving you huge sums.”
This has long been known by fans of course, and our Academy had long produced talents that successive managers failed to get the most from and then the club failed to get the best price for them when we moved them on, so whilst it won’t be overnight and we won’t bat a 100% success rate, with a proper plan in place we should see youngsters continue to be loaned out for real experience and then, better introduced to the first team to see what they can actually offer us.
Have Villa Finally Got The Academy Plan Right?
We Can Still Improve