Louie Barry to become new Nathan Delfouneso at Aston Villa as wonderkid sparkle fades out
It doesn’t take doing any research to know that Louie Barry is the only Sutton Coldfield-born player Aston Villa have signed in their history from Barcelona.
Barry, 19, began his career at West Brom, where he’d spent 10 years before Barca beat Paris Saint-Germain to his signature on a free transfer [The Guardian] in 2019.
The striker became the first Englishman in history to join Barca’s famous La Masia academy but his spell in Spain was shortlived and after a bout of homesickness, he found himself back in West Midlands donning the colours of the club he’d grown up supporting.
Barry was snapped up by Barcelona following a dramatic rise through the ranks at West Brom, which saw him playing for their Under-23s at the age of 16.
He’d also been on fire for England’s youth teams, winning the Golden Boot award for the Under-16s at a Val-de-Marne, a UEFA tournament, in 2018 and scoring two goals in four games for the Under-16s at the Montaigu Tournament in France in 2019.
Villa fans were rightly thinking they were signing the next Michael Owen with the way Barry was progressing at both West Brom and at Barcelona, where he scored on his youth team debut.
However, it’s been less Michael Owen and more Nathan Delfouenso for the struggling youngster.
Barry is 19 years old now.
He’s already made a senior appearance for Villa, scoring on his first-team debut in a 4-1 defeat to Liverpool in the FA Cup in January 2021.
However, that’s all Barry has managed in terms of the Villa’s first-team.
The ex-West Brom youngster is now on his fourth loan spell away from Villa Park with Salford City.
He’d been to Ipswich, Swindon and Milton Keynes prior, barely making any impact at any of the EFL clubs.
In 2021, he was loaned to Ipswich in League One but after just six games and no goals, he returned to B6, scored that goal against Liverpool and was then loaned out to Swindon.
In Wiltshire, Barry had more success and netted six goals in 16 games. However, they were all in League Two against the likes of Walsall and Harrogate Town while he had no impact in Swindon’s play-off semi-final games where they lost to Port Vale.
He spent the first half of this season playing semi-regularly for League One’s MK Dons and amassed 32 appearances, one goal and three assists before that was cut short in January and he eventually headed back to League Two with Salford.
Barry has a goal and an assist in his last two Salford appearances but the former England youth sensation and former Barcelona wonderkid has done little to suggest he’ll be getting near to Villa’s first team any time soon.
Unfortunately for Barry, he does seem to be destined to become the next Delfouneso at Aston Villa.
Delfouneso, now 32, was the talk of the town as a teenager at Villa Park, bursting onto the scene at the age of 17 when he became Villa’s youngest-ever player to play in a European competition.
The former England Under-21 international lit up the scoring charts at youth level for both his country and for the Villans but he never amounted to the hype.
He’s now plying his trade for AFC Fylde and has been a fixture of EFL clubs up and down the country for over a decade.
Barry wouldn’t do bad for himself if he did end up having a similar career but it doesn’t seem as though this wonderkid is going to be hitting the heights that were recently expected of him.
In other Aston Villa news, Ollie Watkins can feel hard done by after this recent decision, according to Alan Hutton.