Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Philogene has responded to Emery to spark unlikely transfer twist

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Jaden Philogene was permitted to leave Aston Villa last summer despite impressing Unai Emery while away in the US on the club’s pre-season tour, mainly because the Spaniard believed the winger needed regular game time which he couldn’t guarantee at Villa Park.

As Villa did with Cameron Archer, another academy-developed player who left the club before returning this summer, they were careful to cover themselves in the event a scenario emerged when they might revisit the possibility of bringing Philogene back. Had Hull City, the beneficiaries last summer of Philogene’s need for football, been promoted last season, Villa would’ve had the option to sign him back.

Indeed it transpires that the club also had a matching right; if Hull stayed in the Championship, which they did after missing out on the play-offs on the final day of the season, and a Premier League rival offered big money to lure him to the top flight, then the Lions could open talks with the England under 21 international too. Philogene had Ipswich Town and – reportedly – Everton on his tail. A fee of £18m has been bandied about.

Villa are understood to have matched that sum. We’ll see what becomes of the pursuit of Philogene, who has the option to return to Villa Park as a Champions League player, but what was already established a long time ago is that Emery is a big fan. Philogene, who scored 12 and created six more in the Championship last season, was clearly not going to feature enough last season.

READ: ‘Surprise’ – What Emery has said about Philogene as Villa target reunion

READ: John Townley’s notebook: Philogene transfer detail emerges as loan moves lined up

Behind Leon Bailey, the then fit Emi Buendia and new signing Moussa Diaby, Philogene on the face of it wouldn’t be afforded too many opportunities, it was predicted. Now, you may throw Morgan Rogers and Samuel Iling-Junior into the mix, too. Nevertheless, Philogene would return to Villa this summer a far more rounded player after the season of his career to date.

“We are thinking to play regularly here is going to be more difficult than going again in another club,” Emery said last summer. “Of course, we are going to follow him and we are going to be aware as well of how he’s developing, but we are very demanding in our squad, in our decision to keep players here. We want to be competitive in every competition we are going to face.”

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