Middlesbrough target Cameron Archer is set to be part of Aston Villa’s plans for next season, manager Unai Emery has told Birmingham Live.
Middlesbrough acquired Archer on loan in January last season, with the forward scoring 11 goals and registering a further six assists in just 20 appearances for Michael Carrick’s side. So it comes as no surprise to see the Championship side linked with a potential reunion.
Following Archer’s return to Villa Park, as well as Fulham striker Rodrigo Muniz’s loan also expiring, this has left Boro short in numbers in forward areas. They have brought in Morgan Rogers from Manchester City and Alex Gilbert from Brentford, but it may be too much of a tough task to ask them to replicate Archer’s scintillating form from earlier this year.
So with another pursuit of Archer potentially on the cards for the Teessiders, it comes as a blow that Emery has revealed he plans to keep the 21-year-old at Aston Villa next season. Speaking to Birmingham Live, he confirmed both he and January signing Jhon Duran are set to stay.
“We are not speaking about the possibility of [Duran] going on loan,” he said.
“He’s a player we will need because he is our second striker with Cameron Archer and we have to use both as well, and we have to give them chances to help us, but it’s not a possibility [to be sent out on loan].”
A blow for Boro…
Archer knows the manager, players and supporters having spent the latter half of last season on loan at the Riverside, and so Carrick may have thought he would have a leg-up on the competition for the player’s signature this summer. So with Emery looking to keep him at Villa, it does come as a blow for Boro.
It means Middlesbrough will either need to make good with what is at their disposal currently, with new signings Rogers and Gilbert competing with Josh Coburn and Matt Crooks (whilst Chuba Akpom or Marcus Forss could be used as a number nine), or look to other targets.
It must be a priority for Middlesbrough given the lack of quality in this position on the pitch. Archer proved to be a huge difference-maker in getting the club into the play-off places, and the players currently available for Carrick’s side don’t look to be the same quality on paper, but only time will tell.