Carney Chukwuemeka will not sign a new contract at Aston Villa, putting England’s biggest clubs on alert, including Manchester City, Manchester United and Liverpool.
The 18-year-old midfielder, rated as one of England’s most promising talents, has decided that his future does not lie with Villa, having grown frustrated at his lack of first-team opportunity.
Chukwuemeka made his debut as a 17-year-old at the end of last season, coming on as an 89th-minute substitute in the Premier League match at Tottenham. He then got on in the 73rd minute of the final game against Chelsea.
This time out, he has started twice – in the Carabao Cup against Barrow and the league against Brentford. He has made a further substitute appearance against Chelsea in the Carabao Cup and Villa believe that they have shown a pathway to a player who also has a host of admirers in mainland Europe, including Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund.
Chukwuemeka does not see it. He has no issue with Villa’s new manager, Steven Gerrard, who replaced Dean Smith this month. Rather, he has come to fear that the club will most likely rely on established players or signings at the expense of promoting youngsters.
Chukwuemeka, an England under-19 international, signed a three-year contract after he turned 17 on 20 October 2020 – the maximum permitted at that age – and Villa were desperate to tie him down for longer upon his 18th birthday. Instead, they face having to cash in on him – perhaps next summer – because, thereafter, he would be able to sign a pre-contract with an overseas club in January 2023 before becoming a free agent in the summer of that year.
Were Chukwuemeka to leave Villa under freedom of contract, they would receive a compensation fee set at tribunal. The panels have the reputation for conservative valuations.