Teen striker Louie barry remains a hot topic among Aston Villa fans given his scoring exploits this season which have seen him place 18th in his 23 appearances.
Barry, 17, rose to fame for his FA Cup exploits against Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool in January after scoring the opening goal as the Villa children led Mo Salah and Co for an hour before losing 4-1.
Villa caught a childhood supporter Barry from Barcelona in January 2020, with CEO Christian Purslow and academy director Mark Harrison helping to secure a long-term deal that could reach £ 3million in future additions.
Villa paid Barcelona an initial £ 850,000 and jumped knowing Barry’s unrest in Barcelona after being excluded from the La Masia academy squad following a change in Barca’s management structure.
Barcelona academy manager Patrick Kluivert wanted Barry to stay at Camp Nou but Barry jumped at the chance to sign for the club closest to his heart.
“I’ll recruit him when I think he’s ready,” Smith said of Barry’s first-team hopes, with Villa likely to include him in their preseason preparations this summer. “We have a lot of young players who train with us regularly.”
Barry, meanwhile, has to face the former club West Brom May 15 in the semi-finals of the FA Youth Cup at Villa Park.
The Sutton Coldfield teenager spent nine years at Albion Academy after enrolling at the age of six. He turned down a pro contract to join Barcelona in July 2019, with West Brom still seeking financial compensation from cash-strapped Spanish giants.
Barcelona are said to be in debt of over € 1bn, with Albion still waiting to receive £ 235,000 following Barry’s move to La Masia.
The fallout around Barry, West Brom, Barcelona and Aston Villa was the talking point of football finance expert Kieran Maguire last week.
On his The Price of Football Podcast, Maguire said: “I don’t think West Brom had to sell it. That was the case with Louie Barry joining West Bromwich Albion Academy at the age of six and he stayed there until at the age of 15.
“He was then offered professional conditions and decided that he also had an offer from Barcelona Football Club which was clearly very attractive to him.
“So he went to Barcelona. Now, under FIFA regulations, if you move from one country to another before the age of 23 or 24, you are entitled to a fixed allowance with a rate of £ 235,000.
“Barcelona should have paid for it. This is the end. But, for some reason, we know Barcelona have huge financial problems.
“It could be the classic case of the big guy going after the small one. If someone has had the misfortune of having to deal with big and big retailers and organizations to try and squeeze money out of them after having supplied goods … They can be really annoying.
“But I understand it was reported to FIFA. The EFL also supports West Brom. I think what really appeals to West Bromwich Albion fans is that Louie Barry hasn’t particularly settled down in Barcelona and they then sold him to Aston Villa for somewhere in the region of £ 850,000 which could go up to £ 3million depending on appearances and the achievement of certain targets.
“We don’t know if Villa paid or not, but presumably they would expect them to put down a deposit, so it looks like Barcelona made some money from the sale and didn’t pay money to West Brom for the respect of the purchase which, if so, is an absolutely lousy practice. “