AVFC have struck gold on “impressive” £12k-p/w dynamo whose value has now soared 161%

The academy graduate enjoyed a strong season out on loan in the Championship.

Aston Villa head coach Unai Emery and sporting director Monchi acted ruthlessly throughout the summer transfer window as they allowed a number of players to depart the club.

Who left Aston Villa this summer?

Jed Steer and Ashley Young were released upon the expiry of their contracts at the end of the 2022/23 campaign, with the latter signing for Premier League rivals Everton.

The club, however, also sanctioned the departures of four academy graduates on permanent deals after their respective loan spells in the Championship last term.

Jaden Philogene, Cameron Archer, Aaron Ramsey, and Keinan Davis were all moved on, to Hull City, Sheffield United, Burnley, and Udinese respectively, instead of being offered the chance to showcase their quality for Emery’s team over the months to come.

The deal to sell Archer to the Blades was a particularly profitable one as Villa reportedly raked in a fee of £18.5m for the player they brought through their youth set-up.

Tim Iroegbunam could be the next in line to be a similar success story for the club’s academy after his impressive spell on loan with Queens Park Rangers last season.

The central midfielder, who is currently out with an unspecified injury, caught the eye in the Championship with Villa appears to have struck gold as his market value has soared in 2023 as a result.

How much was Tim Iroegbunam worth last year?

At the end of 2022, Football Transfers rated the 20-year-old’s expected transfer value (xTV) at €2.3m (£1.9m). This was largely as a result of his academy displays and limited first-team outings for Villa prior to his loan with QPR.

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During the 2021/22 campaign, Iroegbunam made three Premier League appearances and played four times in the EFL Trophy for the U21 side.

He made 2.4 tackles and interceptions per match and won an eye-catching 80% of his individual duels across those three top-flight outings, showcasing his defensive quality for the youth team with 4.8 tackles and interceptions per clash in four Football League Trophy games.

The talented youngster, who began his youth career with West Bromwich Albion, also made 15 Premier League 2 appearances for the Villans academy that season.

How did Tim Iroegbunam perform last season?

His cameos for Villa’s first team earned the excellent enforcer a loan move to Championship side QPR in the summer of 2022 and the combative midfielder went on to play 32 league matches for the R’s.

He made 2.8 tackles and interceptions per game over the course of the season and chipped in with two goals from the middle of the park as the England U20 international continued to display his superb defensive instincts.

John McGinn (2.6) and Jacob Ramsey (2.7) both made a similar number of tackles and interceptions per match for Villa in the Premier League during that period, which shows that the young gem is producing solid numbers in that department.

It was his first experience of playing senior football on a regular basis and he was able to stand up to the physical test of the second tier with a ground duel success rate of 50% to go along with his multiple interventions each game.

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How much is Tim Iroegbunam worth now?

His performances for QPR have resulted in his market value soaring up to €6m (£5.1m) and this means that his valuation has rocketed up by 161% since the turn of the year.

This shows that the £12k-per-week earner is a player who is on the way up and that makes him a potentially valuable asset for Villa to either cash in on or utilise within their first-team set-up in the future.

Archer is a brilliant example of how the club can use academy players to generate cash to strengthen the senior squad, particularly if the player is not deemed to be good enough for Emery’s side.

The England U21 international was sent out on his first EFL loan during the second half of the 2021/22 campaign and caught the eye with an average Sofascore rating of 6.83 alongside seven goals and one assist in 20 Championship appearances for Preston North End.

That spell at Deepdale provided him with valuable senior experience of playing against professionals week-in-week-out that he then used to become a star on loan with Middlesbrough under Michael Carrick’s management last season.

Archer averaged a fantastic Sofascore rating of 7.11 as he plundered an exceptional 11 goals and six assists across 20 outings for the club this year as they managed to reach the play-off semi-finals and fell short against Coventry City.

Meanwhile, only Ollie Watkins (15) managed more than six league goals and only Ramsey (seven) produced more than six assists for Villa’s first-team in the top-flight last term.

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These statistics show that the English youngster was able to kick on and thrive during his second temporary spell away from Villa Park, which then convinced Sheffield United to splash the cash to sign him on a permanent basis to lead the line for them in the Premier League.

Villa may live to regret the decision to sell him, given that the talented marksman has already scored once in two top-flight matches for the Blades so far, but there is no doubt that turning an academy player into £18.5m is an excellent piece of business that deserves credit.

Iroegbunam could now follow in Archer’s footsteps if the Villans are able to find him the right loan during the second half of the 2023/24 campaign. His time with QPR has provided him with a base level of experience at that level that could now allow him to push on at another club next year.

At the age of 20, he has plenty of time left on his side to develop and improve over the months and years to come and another six months could allow him to continue his upward trajectory, as highlighted by his soaring market value throughout 2023.

Therefore, the promising prospect, who was once hailed as “impressive” by former manager Michael Beale, is the next gem off the production line for Villa and could either be a future star for Emery’s first team or provide the Spanish manager, like Archer did, with more funds to work with if they are able to cash in on him.

Such impressive work over the last years means they have already struck gold, but a large sale in a few years would surely see them well and truly hit the jackpot.