Cameron Archer’s place at Villa has been a scorching hot topic of conversation this pre-season. The 21-year-old’s future at the club is, to the surprise of many, not guaranteed. Stay? Go? Leave on loan? Multiple rumours have surfaced and many opinions have been provided about where he should end up this season.
The U21 European Championship winner has attracted a lot of attention, especially in these recent weeks. At the time of writing this, there are rumours starting to gather pace that Sheffield United and Bristol City are among the clubs that are eyeing up our young prodigy. This follows numerous reports that Villa are indeed open to a sale, although it must be stated that said reports have come from the app formerly known as Twitter, so make of that what you will.
If there is any truth behind this, I think it’ll be a huge mistake.
It feels as if it was only a matter of mere weeks ago that Unai Emery was singing Archer’s praises and stating that both he and Jhon Durán both have a role to play this season. West Ham played more than 50 games last season and they didn’t even progress too far in the domestic cups. If we want to emulate their success, the numbers will be crucial. In my eyes, squad depth will be the pivotal factor in our season. When you have a proven goalscorer, regardless of the level, it would be wise to keep them around, wouldn’t you say?
Pre-season has given us a very rough idea of how Emery is likely to shape up. Ollie Watkins and Moussa Diaby, who is off the mark already in Villa colours, seem as if they are going to be the key threats in attack for us going forward. But while I don’t like to tempt fate, one thing that must be considered is our torrid luck with injury. We’re currently without multiple bodies including Jacob Ramsey, Álex Moreno, and the especially devastating losses of first Emi Buendía and then Tyrone Mings. Two likely ACL injuries in the space of three days. You really couldn’t write that.
But, getting back on track, I still fear we don’t have the numbers to cope with all the potential fixtures at the moment. Granted, the window is still open and I’m expecting more movement before deadline day, but we need the depth. Also, due to competition rules, we need homegrown depth.
The amount of potential fixtures allows Archer to finally get the minutes he deserves to make a proper impact. I for one have had enough 10 or 15-minute Archer cameos. I want to see him score the winner on a Thursday night in Vienna. The Europa Conference League seems like the opportunity for the lad to get European experience and demonstrate why he can compete with Watkins.
Now, I’m capable of seeing both sides and I don’t have rose-tinted glasses on. I see why the thought of Archer leaving is being entertained, even though I disagree with it. It sounds like Aaron Ramsey to Burnley is very nearly a done deal. This one did surprise me at first but, it all made sense when I saw those beautiful words: buy-back clause. You know you’ve got that big club mentality when you’re selling players with buy-back clauses. If Aaron goes there and plays amazingly, we’ll snap him back up. If not, at least we’ll have a profit. From that standpoint, I can definitely see the logic of a similar move being done for Archer.
To be perfectly honest, if I were Archer right now, I’d feel quite hard done by. I’d be thinking, “what more do I have to do?” He’s scored in the Championship, he’s scored against Premier League opposition, he’s scored internationally. Cameron. Archer. Scores. Goals. Am I saying he’d hit the ground running if he was our main choice? Absolutely not. Ollie needed time to adjust and so will Cam. But if given that time right here, then I truly think that we could be on the precipice of witnessing the birth of England’s next superstar.
I’d like to finish this off by saying, regardless of whether Cam stays or goes, wherever he ends up on whatever sort of deal, I think he’s going to smash it. He’s earned his right to be called another Villa academy success story. The talent is clearly there and he looks like he’s going to be a special player. I just hope he can become that special player right here where he belongs.