Opinion

Why did Aston Villa Release a Number of Exciting Youth Prospects?

Earlier in the summer Aston Villa released their retained and released list, with a few surprising inclusions. Highly rated youth prospects Oscar Borg, Khalid Abdo and Viktor Johansson had all been released.

As news surrounding Aston Villa’s tumultuous financial situation continued to surface, and with more recent news of Steve Bruce announcing that he will have to rely more on youth this season, and that there’s no greater chance than now for prospects to step up, it’s a little confusing that three bright prospects didn’t have their contracts removed.

Who Exactly are the Players Aston Villa Released?

The three players would not have been overly expensive to keep at the club, although Abdo would have needed to be offered a professional contract at the age of 21.

Khalid Abdo joined the club six years ago at the age of 15 from Swedish club Lärje-Angereds IF, and has been considered one of the brighter prospects within the youth set up since the emergence of Jack Grealish.

The Swedish midfielder, who can play across the midfield – with experience on either wing and in central midfield – played 48 times for the Aston Villa U-23 set up last season, scoring four goals and assisting four.

With nearly 3000 minutes of development football last season, it’s a little confusing as to why he was released.

Oscar Borg is another prospect who was released by Aston Villa.

Dubbed the ‘new Gareth Bale’ earlier in his career, and known for his down-the-wing runs amongst the West Ham youth set up, Borg signed for Aston Villa in 2016 on a free transfer.

Before joining Villa, Borg had trials at Manchester United – who wanted to sign him – but failed to join after The Hammers and Red Devils could not agree on a compensation fee.

After an injury-plagued first season, Borg was drafted in for a pre-season friendly last season against Kidderminster – impressing in the 45 minutes that he played alongside James Chester, Micah Richards and Alan Hutton.

Perhaps Borg’s Aston Villa career ended due to his injury troubles, but after 22 appearances and two assists in the development league last season, the 20-year-old was deemed surplus to requirements.

Highly rated goalkeeper Viktor Johansson joined the club from Hammarby IF in 2014 and has spent four of his 19 years in Birmingham.

The Swedish keeper appeared 31 times for Aston Villa last season, spread over appearances in the Premier League 2 development league and the U-18 competition, where he managed 9 clean sheets and conceded 45 goals. To put that in perspective, he conceded 45 goals in 22 games.

That high goals-conceded-to-game ratio may have been the ‘keepers downfall at the club, but after impressing at the Hong Kong Soccer 7’s earlier in the summer, his release was a bit of a shock.

There we have it. Three highly exciting prospects released, and realistically, its not because of the money side of things, as Dominic Revan recently signed a two-year professional deal with the club yesterday (12/07/2018).

It’s a little confusing – and whilst they may have been deemed surplus to requirements, the youngsters could yet make an impact in the English leagues like many other former Villa prospects that were released.

Words by Regan Foy (@FindFoy) // Follow us on Twitter (@claretandview)

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