Unai Emery raids former club to sign highly-rated Arsenal youngster | Football

Aston Villa manager Unai Emery has sanctioned the signing of Arsenal youngster Lino Sousa (Picture: Getty)

Aston Villa have agreed a deal to sign highly-rated Arsenal youngster Lino Sousa.

The England Under-19 international joined the Gunners two years ago from West Brom, long after current Aston Villa manager Unai Emery had left the north London club.

Sousa has been on the fringes of Mikel Arteta’s first team squad this season the but has failed to make a senior appearance for Arsenal.

With his path into the first team blocked by the likes of Oleksandr Zinchenko, Takehiro Tomiyasu and Jurrien Timber, Sousa as opted to return to the Midlands and join Emery’s Villa revolution.

Speaking on Sousa’s attributes last season, Arsenal Under-21s head coach Mehmet Ali told The Athletic: ‘Lino is a player who is very comfortable on the ball, because of that we sometimes give him licence to come inside to get the ball to feet and then try and serve (the ball in) effective and dangerous areas.

‘Also, we want to show his ability to get forward and sometimes go on the outside to get crosses into the box.

‘But most importantly, Lino needs to remember what his job is as a defender, which is stopping crosses, protecting the far post and winning his defensive duels.’

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Lino Sousa failed to make a senior appearance for Arsenal following his move from West Brom

Lino Sousa failed to make a senior appearance for Arsenal following his move from West Brom (Picture: Getty)

Arsenal, meanwhile, have begun negotiations in order to try and secure the future of one of their most promising young players.

Amario Cozier-Duberry is currently in the last six months of his current contract and has a number of high-profile suitors.

According to the Evening Standard, the likes of Borussia Dortmund, Newcastle and Ajax are monitoring the teenage winger’s situation carefully.

The 18-year-old is yet to make his first team debut for the Gunners but is highly regarded by Mikel Arteta and was rewarded for his progress with a place on Arsenal’s first team pre-season tour of America last summer.

Given his size and ability to cut in on his left foot, Cozier-Duberry has been likened to Hale End’s most high-profile academy graduate of recent times, Bukayo Saka.

As a consequence of his left-footedness and willingness to cut in from the right flank, the comparison is an easy one, but it is not without foundation according to his Under-18s coach Jack Wilshere.

‘Amario is very exciting and Mikel [Arteta] likes him,’ Wilshere told the Athletic last year.

‘He reminds me of Bukayo Saka, plays in the same position as him, needs to get better with his decision-making like Bukayo did, but he’s definitely exciting.

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