Aston Villa starlet Carney Chukwuemeka has been linked with a move to Arsenal in recent times.
According to Spanish outlet Sport, both the Gunners and Barcelona are keen on the talented youngster, who has just over 13 months left on his contract at Villa Park. football.london understands that the north London outfit will try to sign a central midfielder this summer, with Leicester City playmaker Youri Tielemans a target.
Egyptian international Mohamed Elneny also penned a new short-term contract with the club but technical director Edu has made it no secret of his desire to stack the club with plenty of high-potential young talents. But who is Chukwuemeka and what would he bring to the Emirates Stadium if he was to sign?
Here, football.london takes a closer look.
Who is Carney Chukwuemeka?
Aged just 18, Chukwuemeka is a talented midfielder born in Eisenstadt, Austria. However, he has been playing for England at youth level, most recently featuring for their Under-19 side.
He is a central midfielder, predominantly operating as a box-to-box No. 8 but he has also occasionally been deployed at no. 10 due to his creative qualities.
What would he bring to Arsenal?
Chukwuemeka is a powerful runner who has a rare blend of exceptional close control, intelligent movement off the ball and the ability to evade an opposition press with his one-versus-one dribbling ability. The Daily Mail even previously reported that Borussia Dortmund see the teenager as the next Jude Bellingham given the two midfielders boast a number of key similarities in terms of their playstyle.
The Austrian-born starlet’s ability to make runs into the box is somewhat reminiscent of former Arsenal star Aaron Ramsey. His attacking output is impressive for a player who operates at both ends of the pitch, netting 13 goals and providing a further 13 assists in 54 outings for Villa’s U23 and U18 sides.
He also made his first-team debut during the 2021/22 campaign, featuring in 12 Premier League matches, with two of those appearances being in the starting line-up. Chukwuemeka even chipped in with his first top-flight assists during a 2-0 win against Norwich City, showcasing his dribbling ability down the left flank before providing an inch-perfect cutback for Ollie Watkins, who finished into the empty Canaries’ net.
What has been said?
Villa boss Steven Gerrard is keen to tie Chukwuemeka down to a bumper new contract at the West Midlands club. “Hopefully he is going to be a big player for Aston Villa,” the Liverpool icon said when asked about the youngster’s future with the club. “We want him to stay here long-term. We believe this is the best place for Carney. I hope that situation progresses in a positive way.”
Arsenal hero Paul Merson has also made it no secret of his admiration for the teenager, heaping praise on him earlier this year. Speaking about Villa on Sky Sports, Merson said: “You look at the positives, the young kid, Chukwuemeka was very good.
“He has got a bright future. I don’t see a lot of the kid’s football. First-half, he was outstanding. He was gliding across the pitch. 17-years-old, you are playing in the Premier League in the centre of midfield. I mean that’s a big ask.
“He will be an absolute star. He glides across the pitch. He is a nice size. He gets on the ball. He looks for it and makes runs without the ball. I think Villa fans going away will definitely be talking about him.”