Could the sale of Carney Chukwuemeka to Chelsea prove to be a huge mistake for Aston Villa?
In the 2022 summer transfer window, Aston Villa sold academy graduate Carney Chukwuemeka for £20 million.
The England under-20 midfielder was unhappy due to a lack of playing time. With Villa signing Philippe Coutinho on a permanent transfer, it appeared his minutes would again be limited in the following season.
With only 1 year remaining on his contract, Aston Villa decided to cash in on the hugely talented midfielder, so that they would not lose him for free the following year.
Chukwuemeka was handed his Villa debut by Dean Smith in a 2-1 away win against Tottenham Hotspur on 19th May 2021, coming on as a substitute in the 89th minute.
He made 16 appearances for Aston Villa’s first team, assisting 1 goal in a 2-0 win against Norwich in December 2021.
Once dubbed as the ‘best young player in the country’ by Villa CEO Christian Purslow, Chukwuemeka failed to make any appearances in the early stages of the season under former Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel.
However, the appointment of Graham Potter from Brighton could prove to be the making of the 19-year-old.
Potter handed Carney his Chelsea debut in a 3-0 win against Wolves, coming on in the 86th minute to replace fellow Englishman, Conor Gallagher.
Chukwuemeka has appeared in 3 of Chelsea’s last 5 Premier League games, playing a combined 43 minutes of football.
The brightest of these cameos came in the 0-0 draw against Brentford. Chukwuemeka came on after 62 minutes, showing his great ability to drive with the ball, and his extraordinary physical attributes for such a young player, providing the Chelsea fans with much excitement about his future.
Graham Potter stated that “He’s a young player, but he’s got exciting attributes. We just need to help him reach his potential because his potential is exciting.”
Potter has trusted Chukwuemeka more than on-loan midfielder Denis Zakaria, who looks like he could be heading back to Juventus early from his loan deal.
With Carney Chukwuemeka starting to make appearances for Chelsea, Aston Villa could regret not giving him regular minutes to get him to commit his future to the club.
With Villa’s poor start to the season and other midfielders failing to impress, Chukwuemeka could have provided a bright spark in the middle of the park.