Arjan Raikhy’s season has been a bit of a rollercoaster with the Aston Villa sensation seemingly set to end his campaign on a bad note.
Raikhy, 20, has been in impressive form for the Under-21s in Premier League 2 this season, scoring three goals and supplying two assists from the midfield in 18 appearances.
The Wolverhampton-born midfielder’s form saw him called up to Unai Emery’s squad for the trip to the UAE during the World Cup break in the winter, where he shone in a friendly win over Chelsea.
Emery started Raikhy against Chelsea and the youngster did so well that the Birmingham Mail’s playing ratings scored the midfielder an 8/10.
Journalist John Townley wrote: “Emery gave Raikhy a vote of confidence by starting him in this one. The 20-year-old moved the ball well, took it in pockets and looked lively in the 45 minutes he was given. Struck the base of the post with an excellent effort in the final moments of the first half – so unlucky!”
But just four months later, it is being reported by The Athletic that Raikhy is set to be released by Aston Villa at the end of the season.
Gregg Evans reported on 13 April that Raikhy will join Brad Young, Hayden Lindley and Declan Frith in leaving Bodymoor Heath for good at the end of the season when their contracts expire.
It is understood that Aston Villa have “decided against offering new deals to each of their development team players as they plan for the future”. Evans added that there could be more youngsters released too with decisions pending on a number of Raikhy’s teammates.
Raikhy was a part of the 2020/21 FA Youth Cup-winning side but last season saw him out on loan at both Stockport County and Grimsby Town while they were in the National League.
This season, there may have been hopes that Raikhy would have been loaned out again but he’s stayed put at Bodymoor Heath and done his best to impress Emery and the first-team coaching staff.
Unfortunately, it’s not been enough.
Speaking to Villa News earlier this month, Sky Sports and The Athletic’s Dan Bardell predicted Raikhy to make a name for himself away from Villa Park.
He said: “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.
“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.”
Bardell’s right. Raikhy may have impressed for the Under-21s, he may have done well for his managers while out on loan and he may have done well in Abu Dhabi against Chelsea in December.
However, shining on those occasions doesn’t mean you’ll shine on the biggest stage of them all in domestic club football in the English Premier League.
We wish Raikhy the best of luck in his next move.