Louie Barry, 16, joins the club for an initial fee of $700,000, although that could rise as high as $3 million based on a string of add-ons that are primarily based on first team appearances.
Barry has been training with Villa for a little while but the team is still awaiting international clearance on the move.
Mark Harrison, Villa’s manager of youth soccer who formerly worked at West Brom, was fundamental to the offer.
“It [Louie’s signing] sends a strong message about the ambition of the football team,” Villa academy boss Mark Harrison stated. “We are thrilled, Louie is a local man and his family are all Villa fans, as is Louie.
“He’s still a very young man, but as he’s developed, he has always been one player that you always recognise as having outstanding attributes. He’s got a fantastic mentality, he is desperate to do well for this football club. He is really driven, he has excellent family support, but in terms of what he can attain, we firmly believe he could be an outstanding number nine to this football club.”
Barry, who comes from a family of Villa fans, was put on a return to his hometown team after he decided he wanted to leave Barca.
The striker will start with the under-23s in Villa Park, but one source in the club has described the move as”the largest deal” the club will create this window, and a Premier League debut before the end of the year is a possibility.
Sources have told ESPN that Villa even ordered a behind-closed-doors friendly for their U23 team on Thursday before announcing the signing up as they seem to get Barry’s match fitness up.
Barca beat competition from Europe’s largest clubs to catch Barry last summer. He turned down much greater cash on offer at Paris Saint-Germain so as to push through a move to Camp Nou.
But, his time in Spain has showcased more downs than ups. He excelled in the preseason for the club’s U19 team as part of an attack that also featured Ansu Fati and Ilaix Moriba but was not able to make his competitive debut until October because of a delay in processing his enrollment with FIFA.
Barry scored on his full debut and added another goal of the seat in a league match in December, but discovered minutes hard to find under trainer Franc Artiga, who replaced Victor Valdes on the seat before Barry was eligible to make his debut.
Barry, who’s not 17 until the end of June, was the youngest player in the U19s in some manner. Sources near the participant have bemoaned broken promises on Barca’s behalf, having stated the club has backtracked on a pledge to provide Barry regular game time at a central attacking place.
Those very same sources told ESPN, they never asked for Barry to play for the U19s and could have been happy for him to play for the U17s, where he’d still have been among the youngest players. Barry even requested Artiga if that would be possible so as to develop game time.
Sources at Barcelona stated they believe Barry, who became the first Englishman to live at La Masia, should have shown more patience. They indicated it was always going to take time for him to adapt to his new environment, learn the language and get knowledgeable about the side’s way of playing.
They have not paid the development rights, the English side believe they’re due. Barca have stated FIFA should determine if they must pay the rights or not.
The situation remains unresolved and resources close to West Brom said the Baggies’ fury at not getting a cent has doubled after news of this Villa move.
Despite this, Barry managed to leave Barca on good terms, together with the Catalan club with reluctantly opened the door to a death on the assumption that they could recover what they had spent.