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Academy product joins Aston Villa

16 August 2021

Northampton Town striker Caleb Chukwuemeka has signed for Premier League side Aston Villa for an undisclosed fee.

The move will see Chukwuemeka join up with his younger brother and fellow Northampton Town academy product Carney, who joined Villa under the EPPP (Elite Player Performance Plan) scheme in 2016.

19 year old Caleb made four starts and twenty four substitute appearances for the Cobblers, scoring twice.

"We wish Caleb all the best and given the path he wants to pursue, this deal is very much in the best interests of the club," said manager Jon Brady.

"I have worked with Caleb for a number of years both in the academy and with the first team so I know all about his game, where he is at the moment, his attributes and the ability he has and supporters will have seen glimpses of that at first team level. He is still a young striker learning the game but I would hope, with the work our coaches have done with him and the help he will now receive at Aston Villa, he is well placed to enjoy a successful career.

"I know how good our academy has become at the club and Caleb is the latest player to either come through to the first team squad or to attract the attention of other clubs, either through EPPP or outside of the scheme and that is a huge tribute to the work that goes on in our academy and the player pathway we have at the club.”

Chairman Kelvin Thomas added: “With his scholarship finishing in February, we made good contract offers to Caleb but once there was Premier League interest his agent informed us that he felt they would like to pursue that option which we understand too. Caleb’s situation is also quite unique with his brother recently signing a professional contract with Villa so there was already a very strong family connection with the club.

“As with any transfer we had to take all the factors into consideration like length of contract, playing opportunities in League 2, the offers on the table and what’s in the best interests for the club and the development of the player. Once we decided that the transfer was the right decision this window we then had to ensure we got the best deal for the club which includes both any initial fee and also add ons as Caleb develops.

“We have felt the club - prior to our ownership - has been guilty of selling players a little cheaply especially when negotiating the add-ons, however we are in a stronger financial position now so we don’t have to take the first offer available and we have a much better negotiating position.

“The main positive for the club we take is that it continues to prove there is a pathway from our club from the academy either into our first team like Shaun McWilliams, Scott Pollock and others have shown, or into the Premier League like Caleb, Carney and Ivan.

“We are getting a good reputation for developing players whether it’s through the academy like Caleb, with players we have signed or bought like Charlie Goode or loan players like Callum Morton. It’s why Premier League clubs are taking an interest in our players and also loaning us their players as they know we will look after them and develop them.

“The article in the programme last weekend was a proud moment to see that last season saw the highest number of academy appearances for the club in a decade and even more so that the season we bought the club (2015/16) there were no first team appearances from an academy player whatsoever. That is huge progress that has not gone unnoticed across the industry.

“Everyone knows that developing players is not an overnight project but it is pleasing to start seeing the investment and work pay off. These increased numbers and Caleb going to the Premier League is especially testament to the hard work and dedication from everyone in the Academy at the club and they should also be very proud.

“We wish Caleb all the best and look forward to him coming back and supporting us while we will follow his future development at Villa with pride. We also thank Aston Villa for their professional dealings throughout the transaction and we look forward to continuing our good relationship.”

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