Contract Update: Young Lions pen new contracts, three more senior contracts on the way?
Aston Villa are building for the future, the players are back for pre-season and they have rewarded many of the FA Youth Cup Winners with new deals.
Over the past few days 13 young lions have been tied down, 7 of those playing in the FA Youth Cup Final, in the 2-1 win over Liverpool.
Below is a summary of the new deals handed out:
Kaine Kesler Hayden has signed a five-year contract and Mungo Bridge, Akos Onodi, Viljami Sinisalo, Myles Sohna, DJ Sturridge and Tyreik Wright have all signed new deals at the club.
Right-back Kesler Hayden, 18, made his impressive first-team debut against Liverpool in the third round of the FA Cup in January and was subsequently named in Villa’s matchday 20 for four Premier League matches. The England Under-19 international duly captained the club to FA Youth Cup glory in May.
Centre-back Bridge, 20, was one of 16 players to make his senior bow against the Reds and spent the majority of the campaign with the U23 squad.
Hungarian goalkeeper Onodi, 19, was outstanding when he also made his first-team debut against Liverpool and made 16 appearances in Premier League 2 last season.
Fellow keeper Sinisalo, 19, has represented Finland at various age groups and spent the 2020/21 season on loan at Scottish Championship side Ayr United, where he kept nine clean sheets in all competitions.
Centre-back Sohna, 19, made seven appearances for the U23s in PL2 last season and enjoyed five consecutive starts for Mark Delaney's side from January through to March.
Striker Sturridge, 19, featured heavily for Villa in PL2 during the opening part of the campaign but his season was unfortunately curtailed by injury in November.
Winger Wright, 19, was an ever-present for the U23s in PL2 in the first half of last season before joining League Two side Walsall on loan, making 16 league appearances and providing three assists. He also made his debut for Republic of Ireland Under-21s in March.
The club has also exercised an option to extend Louie Barry's contract until 2024 and Brad Young, Hayden Lindley, Arjan Raikhy, Filip Marschall and Chisom Afoka have all signed new deals. Under-18 team-mate Patrick Zito has also penned a short-term contract.
Forward Barry, 18, scored on his senior debut in the FA Cup third round against Liverpool in January and went on to finish last season with 20 goals in all competitions. That haul for the England U18 frontman included five strikes in the FA Youth Cup as Villa lifted the trophy for the first time since 2002.
Fellow striker Young, 18, netted the decisive goal in the final against the Reds at Villa Park – one of 21 goals across a campaign that saw him star for the U18s, U23s and make his senior debut.
Central midfielder Lindley, 18, was an ever-present during the FA Youth Cup run, also making his senior bow off the bench in the FA Cup third-round tie against Liverpool
Raikhy, 18, was another player to make his Villa debut against Liverpool, crowning a strong season for the midfielder that saw him become a key component of the Youth Cup triumph.
Goalkeeper Marschall, 18, was called up by England U18s during the 2020/21 season following his strong form for Villa, which saw him play five of six games in the FA Youth Cup.
Winger Afoka, 17, has penned a new deal after enjoying a productive first season at Villa. The England youth international featured heavily for the U18s and was part of the squad that lifted the FA Youth Cup.
Zito, 18, is a homegrown defender who has extended his stay at the club and will be hoping to bounce back strongly after an injury-hit 2020/21 campaign.
Aston Villa also announced the signing of Josh Feeney from Fleetwood for a 'substantial' fee, the 16 year old has captianed England and is highly thought of, he operates as a centre back and will play for the U18 team this season, as they look to retain the FA Youth Cup.
Below is a gallery of the Young Lions signing their new deals:
It is also believed that there is new contracts on the way for Senior members of the squad;
Youngster Carney Chukwuemeka, 17, only signed a new deal back in October on his 17th birthday, and penned the maximum, 3 years, for this age group, it is expected that he will sign on fresh terms when he hits 18, which is good news for Villa as they look to bat away interest from Dortmund.
Aston Villa are also expected to hold talks with Douglas Luiz regarding a new contract when he returns from the Olympics
Aston Villa have already offered Jack Grealish new terms in an attempt to keep the skipper, amid interest from Manchester City, it is believed that Villa offered north of £150,000 a week to their captain, Jack will make his decision after the Euros on the 11th July 2021.