By Jonty Banks

15th May, 2023 | 12:45pm

Aston Villa academy prospect Nathan Dlamini joins Blackburn Rovers

Blackburn Rovers have announced the signature of teenager Nathan Dlamini on a permanent basis, with the Aston Villa academy cull moving into motion ahead of the summer transfer window.

The Lancashire Telegraph reported that Rovers have taken in 13 scholars who will join the club’s academy on a full-time basis this summer.

Villa’s 16-year-old winger has agreed a two-year scholarship deal with the Championship outfit, with the aim to sign a professional contract by 2025.

Dlamini left Aston Villa for Blackburn on a trial period earlier this season, where he netted twice in seven appearances for the Under-18s.

Daily Record journalist Scott Burns had previously reported (20 January) that Rangers wanted to sign the starlet in the January transfer window with a reunion with former Villa coach Michael Beale on the cards, but this deal never materialised.

Dlamini looks to be the first of many Aston Villa youngsters who are set to be sold this summer, with The Athletic (13 April) previously sharing that Brad Young, Arjan Raikhy, Hayden Lindley and Declan Frith were all in line to leave the club.

The report went on to mention that Villa were in the process of deciding the next steps for a number of other young players at the club.

Raikhy, 20, is currently on a trial period with Leicester City ahead of a potential free transfer, while the likes of Plymouth Argyle loanee Finn Azaz also see their contracts at Villa Park expire at the end of the season.

Since his arrival at the club last winter, Emery has pulled no punches with his assessment of the brightest prospects that are emerging from the Bodymoor Heath academy.

You’re either good enough or you’re not.

Unfortunately for Dlamini, few players successfully graduate from the Aston Villa academy, let alone feature in the first team.

The teenager looks like he could be the first permanent exit of many in the coming months as the club look to trim down the ranks at Bodymoor Heath.

In other Aston Villa news, this £40m striker would be an absolute steal and outshines Ollie Watkins statistically.