Moment of truth for Steven Gerrard as Barcelona pose Aston Villa big Carney Chukwuemeka problem

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Aston Villa midfielder Carney Chukwuemeka Credit: PA Images
Aston Villa midfielder Carney Chukwuemeka Credit: PA Images

Steven Gerrard is facing a fresh examination of his managerial prowess after Barcelona entered talks to sign Aston Villa wonderkid Carney Chukwuemeka, per a report.

The 18-year-old is arguably the hottest prospect Villa have produced since Jack Grealish. Chukwuemeka hit the headlines for all the right reasons this summer when starring for England’s Under-19s at Euro 2022.

Indeed, the midfielder was named in the team of the tournament after notching three goals in the competition. He also scored the deciding goal in the final against Israel to help his country lift international silverware.

At club level, Chukwuemeka was made to bide his time last season. He made just 12 league appearances totalling 294 minutes of action.

He could be granted a greater role at Villa Park next season, though his contract status is casting a long shadow on his future at the club.

Chuwuemeka has just 12 months remaining on his current deal. Aston Villa boss Gerrard recently confirmed an extension has been on the table for some time, though the player has not put pen to paper.

Gerrard opted to leave the youngster off their pre-season tour as a result. While the first-team is away in Australia, Chukwuemeka is at Bodymoor Heath taking advantage of the club’s facilities back home.

The list of clubs monitoring the starlet’s situation is a lengthy one.

From England, Man Utd, Liverpool, Arsenal and Newcastle have all been linked with a swoop if the contract stand-off results in an exit. From further afield, Borussia Dortmund and Barcelona are watching closely.

Barcelona act on Chukwuemeka interest

Now, according to Mundo Deportivo, Barcelona have reportedly opened talks with Aston Villa.

Xavi is said to have given the club’s hierarchy the go-ahead to pursue a move and Barca chiefs Jordi Cruyff and Mateu Alemany are reportedly negotiating with their Villa counterparts.

Villa do not want to lose such a promising talent. However, they are fully aware Chukwuemeka will be a free agent next summer if the new deal goes unsigned. What’s more, he’ll be free to negotiate a pre-contract agreement with overseas clubs come January 1.

That led to talkSPORT stating Villa will demand a £20m fee if they do cash in this summer.

Mundo Deportivo’s article suggests any Barca bids are unlikely to match that valuation.

It’s claimed they rate Chukwuemeka highly, though their primary focus is on players for the here and now, not future.

Pressure on Gerrard to deliver

That won’t stop them testing the waters, however. And with Villa looking vulnerable, the onus is now on Steven Gerrard to find a resolution.

If Villa are to retain the player, Gerrard and co must convince Chukwuemeka remaining where he is is the best course of action.

Unless they can twist his arm into signing a contract extension, an exit – either now or next summer – will be inevitable.

Gerrard could offer the promise of more guaranteed game-time. If Chukwuemeka’s displays for his country are anything to go by, it’d be a decision he wouldn’t regret.

The article Moment of truth for Steven Gerrard as Barcelona pose Aston Villa big Carney Chukwuemeka problem appeared first on Teamtalk.com.

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