Dan Bardell: Arjan Raikhy could seal permanent Aston Villa transfer exit
Aston Villa academy midfielder Arjan Raikhy has found first-team opportunities hard to come by this season despite training regularly with Unai Emery and starring in the mid-season tour of Dubai.
The 20-year-old has been a shining light for the Under-23s this season, and after loan spells at Grimsby Town and Stockport County last year looks ready to take the next step in his career.
When several Aston Villa first-teamers were warranted time off to rest over the Qatar World Cup, Raikhy was awarded the opportunity to shine in friendlies against Brighton and Chelsea in Dubai.
And despite picking up a smart assist against the Seagulls and doing his first-team chances no damage whatsoever, he has failed to be given any chances since.
Even after instrumental midfielder Boubacar Kamara was resigned to a spell on the sidelines with an ankle injury recently and the Englishman was called up to train in his stead, he was still overlooked for the Premier League clash against West Ham on Sunday (12 March).
What will be most disappointing for the box-to-box midfielder is that Emery decided to pick two goalkeepers on his bench for the clash, Robin Olsen and Viljami Sinisalo, instead of trusting the academy product to bridge the gap between the Under-21s and the first-team.
Speaking exclusively to Villa News, Sky Sports and The Athletic’s Dan Bardell admitted that Raikhy is an extremely bright talent but that his future may lie away from Villa Park if Emery continues to shy away from playing him in the Premier League.
He said: “He’s a part of that really successful FA Youth Cup winning side that did so well, and no one has really come through from that side yet – it would probably have been Carney Chukwuemeka, but he went to Chelsea.
“Sometimes you can have those teams, and those teams will be broken up, players go on and have really good careers away from Villa and away from the Premier League, and Raikhy potentially falls under that bracket.
“He is very likely to be someone who has a good career, but it might not be with Aston Villa.
“if he doesn’t get any football before the end of the season, he’ll probably be given a permanent move somewhere in the summer.
“I like him, I like the way he passes the ball, he has a really good passing range and he can control the tempo of a match really well. But it is one thing doing that at youth level, but a completely different thing doing that at Premier League level.”
With Emery recently admitting that Kamara’s injury was not as bad as first feared, there may only be a brief window in which Raikhy could force his way into a matchday squad or two.
If the academy talent isn’t warranted an opportunity to ply his trade at Villa Park before the end of the season, another loan move within the English football league, or more realistically, a permanent transfer away from the club is on the cards.