Aston Villa could have first choice over whether to bring some of the best young American players into European football.
The struggling Premier League club have just announced a partnership with American side, Pacesetters.
Pacesetters are about to embark on life in the Premier League in the United States and Canada for 17-20-year-olds and the link between the clubs has been enabled as Villa have given them permission to use their kit.
It gives Aston Villa a clear route to go and scout some of the best young players in North America, before any other top sides from across Europe and the rest of the world can get anywhere near them.
Aston Villa have a strong existing link with the United States as their goalkeeper, Brad Guzan, is the country’s current number one and they have had American players previously on their books.
It’s a very smart and a very simple way for one of the Premier League’s most historic clubs to find some of the best young players, from an area which is rapidly developing in terms of football.
It’s also doubly important if the unfortunate happens and Aston Villa are relegated from the Premier League, because they need to be able to source out alternative signings for this summer, as they may not be able to attract their first choice targets.
The club’s chief executive Paul Faulkner has admitted that it’s an association, which Villa are using to look at exclusively bring in American teenagers and give them a chance in English football.
The importance of this sort of opportunity has never been greater because so many of the top teams from all over Europe snap up the best European players, before they have barely developed into their teenage years.
Villa are attacking another area which is relatively under used in terms of investments from the biggest European sides.
It will be interesting to see how the club uses the link between themselves an American 'soccer' side if they do manage to stay in the Premier League, as one of the main criticism of the club this season has been not having enough age and experience in the first team.
But if they do use it to snap up the next big star, nobody will surely be complaining.
Villa fans, what do you make of this?
image: © ell brown