Aston Villa have punched above their weights in the 2023/24 Premier League season, strongly asserting themselves in the top-4 race and being able to keep up with some of the strongest teams in the division.
But Unai Emery is not one who is only focused on short-term success for the time being. He is developing a project that also emphasises the club’s long-term success and ensures that the Villans continue to keep competing at the top of the Premier League teams for many years to come.
Villa have now put an attention on ‘pre-planning’ for the future, and a big example of that could be the recent signing of young left-back Lino Sousa from Arsenal. The Villans surprised many by acquiring the services of the highly-ranked defender, because they did such a good job at keeping things under wraps and working silently behind the scenes to get an agreement finalized with Arsenal before other clubs could come sniffing.
Not just that, but Emery decided to immediately loan out Sousa to Plymouth Argyle because he wasn’t going to get game-time immediately. Plymouth’s head coach Ian Foster is all too happy to have the left-back, saying: “He’s a really exciting player with huge potential and I think you can see why the likes of Arsenal and Aston Villa have taken him.”
Sousa made 36 appearances for Arsenal’s under-21 side, in which he scored five goals. But not just Emery, but Aston Villa’s president of football operations Mochi deserves equal praise for revolutionizing the club’s recruitment policy.
In the January window, Monchi – reputed for his impressive work at Sevilla, whom he helped to sign the likes of Dani Alves, Ivan Rakitic and Seydou Keita for cheap – decided to change around the structure of Aston Villa’s recruitment methods. The four players that the Villans signed in the winter window had an average age of 20, with Sousa being accompanied by Middlesbrough midfielder Morgan Rogers, young centre-back Kosta Nedeljkovic and Aussie goalkeeper Joe Gauci.
It’s rather clear that Monchi’s long-term vision for Villa is to sign all the quality youngsters and then develop them into superstars, then probably sell them for incredibly high fees and repeat this process. That can ensure that Aston Villa are financially secure, have a stable wage structure and keep punching above their weight for years to come.