Aston Villa confirm signing of former West Brom starlet Louie Barry
Aston Villa have confirmed the signing of former West Brom starlet Louie Barry from Barcelona, subject to international clearance.
The forward will head straight into Villa's academy ranks, and will work under academy manager Mark Harrison, who also departed Albion for Villa last June.
Harrison hailed the move as one which showcases the 'ambition' showed by Villa.
"It sends a powerful message about the ambition of this football club,” Harrison said.
“We’re delighted - Louie is a local person and his family are all Villa fans, as is Louie.
“He is still a very young man but as he’s developed, he’s always been one player that you always recognise as having outstanding attributes. He’s got a fantastic mentality, he’s desperate to do well for this football club.
“He’s really driven, he’s got great family support, but in terms of what he can achieve, we firmly believe that he can be an outstanding number nine for this football club.”
Barry was highly regarded at West Brom, and was offered a lucrative professional deal to stay at the club, but decided against signing the contract, opting for a move to Barcelona last summer - having also turned down a move to PSG.
However, reports this month revealed that the youngster had failed to settle at the Nou Camp and highlighted Villa as a potential destination for the promising talent.
Albion have been in an ongoing dispute with Barcelona following the 16-year-old's departure from The Hawthorns last summer - with the Spanish giants still to pay up the £235k owed to the Baggies via FIFA's flat rate for young players joining foreign clubs having turned down a professional contract.
The Baggies have resorted to reporting the Catalan club to FIFA over their refusal to pay for the teenager.
The move would seemingly represent a sizeable financial profit for Barcelona, even if they pay Albion the money owed - with national reports claiming that Villa have paid £880k for the starlet.