Aston Villa close in on signing Morgan Rogers 2.0

    The 2023/24 season was an impressive time for Unai Emery’s Aston Villa. Off the back of a campaign in 2022/23 where they went from relegation contenders to European qualification in the space of six months, they backed that up with another very impressive effort last term.

    Villa qualified for the Champions League ahead of next season, finishing in fourth place, although they were some way behind Liverpool who came third. Hot on the Villans’ heels in fifth were Ange Postecoglou’s Tottenham Hotspur, whom they finished just two points ahead of in the end.

    A final day thrashing of 5-0 at the hands of Crystal Palace thankfully weighed no bearing on the final standings after Spurs lost 2-0 at home to Manchester City in the penultimate game. Thus, Emery’s side secured Champions League qualification, a competition they haven’t been in since the 1992 rebrand, although they were European Cup winners in 1982.

    With a big season ahead in 2024/25, Emery will be hoping to strengthen his squad this summer and look to build on an impressive tenure at Villa Park so far. The Midlands side have already been linked with one player who could immediately strengthen their side should he join the club during the transfer window.

    Aston Villa close in on exciting signing

    The player in question here is Juventus and former Chelsea academy player Samuel Iling-Junior. The 20-year-old played a relatively important role for Juve last season but could be on his way out of the club as new manager Thiago Motta takes over.

    According to a report from John Townley of Birmingham Mail, Villa is a potential destination for Iling-Junior. The versatile player could be part of a swap deal between Villa and the Old Lady, which would also include Weston McKennie and £16.8m, in exchange for Villa midfielder Douglas Luiz.

    Juventus forward Samuel Iling-Junior. 

    The deal seems almost guaranteed to happen, according to reputable journalist Fabrizio Romano. The Italian explained on Monday night that Juve are “close to reaching an agreement on personal terms” with the Brazilian, who Villa need to sell in order to comply with the Premier League’s profit and sustainability regulations.

    Thus, getting both McKennie and Iling-Junior represents a good deal for Villa. According to Romano, the club are in talks with both players and have made a “contract proposal” to each of them, although it is currently unclear as to the terms of the deals offered.


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    How Iling-Junior fits in at Villa

    Iling-Junior spent lots of time going between the starting lineup and the bench at Juve last year. Whilst he did make 27 appearances in the Serie A and the Italian Cup, he played 45 minutes or more on just ten occasions.

    However, towards the end of the season, he forced his way into Massimiliano Allegri’s side, playing 90 minutes in the final three games, including a start in the Italian Cup final, which Juve won. In total, Iling-Junior chipped in with one goal and two assists, with all three goal involvements coming in the Serie A.

    Iling-Junior 2023/24 season stats


    Serie A

    Italian Cup













    Stats from Transfermarkt

    Interestingly, this could be a signing that’s very much “like Morgan Rogers”, as the aforementioned Townley suggests. He signed from Middlesbrough during the most recent winter transfer window for upwards of £16m.

    Like the Juve man, Rogers started out at an elite top-flight academy, specifically Manchester City’s, before moving away to play first-team football. Villa have now brought him back to the Premier League, where he is excelling. This is very similar to Iling-Junior’s move to Villa Park, from Cobham via Turin.

    Emery has a good track record of working well with young players, which Rogers is a testament to. The former Man City academy man scored three goals and registered one assist in 16 games for Villa, all of which came in the Premier League.

    In terms of how the 20-year-old fits in at Villa, he brings with him great versatility. A winger by trade, it was actually a deeper role in which the former Chelsea man played for Juve last season. He played 19 times as a left midfielder, often operating more as a wing-back, but also played three times in the centre of midfield and once pushed up as a left-winger where Rogers thrives himself.

    As football analyst Ben Mattinson described him, Iling-Junior is an “explosive, technical winger”, which could see him thrive as one of the number 10s in Emery’s famed 4-2-2-2 system at Villa Park.


    The Spaniard likes these players to be strong ball carriers, and as per Fbref, the Juve star is just that. He averages 3.22 progressive carries per 90 minutes and 0.89 carries into the penalty box per 90, which ranks him in the top 10% and 5% respectively.

    He would be able to get the ball and drive at defenders, using his creative flair to find the likes of Ollie Watkins ahead of him. The 20-year-old averages an impressive 2.11 key passes per 90, ranking him in the top 5%, and 1.44 passes into the penalty box per 90, ranking him in the top 15%.

    However, he may also be able to play at left-back to a high level. As Mattinson explains, he has “great duel-winning ability”, something that is “perfect for the Premier League’s physicality”. This would no doubt stand him in good stead when coming up against the league’s best right-wingers, the likes of Bukayo Saka.


    There may well be a way into the Villa side at left-back. Last season Alex Moreno played 29 times in all competitions, and Lucas Digne made 46 appearances. However, the Frenchman was close to leaving Villa Park last summer, and perhaps with the signing of Iling-Junior, an exit could be on the cards again, leaving space for the young Englishman to force his way into the side.

    It seems like this deal will go through within the next few days, and it is certainly a smart acquisition from Villa. They are bringing in a young 20-year-old versatile player who has a high ceiling and is already the type of profile ready for the Premier League. Given Emery’s proficiency at developing youngsters, Iling-Junior could really explode.


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