Aston Villa have signed highly-rated 16-year-old midfielder Ben Chrisene from Exeter City for an undisclosed fee.
Chrisene, who joined Exeter’s academy at the age of 11, became their youngest-ever first-team player in August 2019 when he made his debut against Coventry City in the EFL Cup.
Ben Chrisene Joins Aston Villa
Beat Several Clubs to His Signature
Chrisene made five first-time appearances in total for the Grecians. However, only one of those has come in League Two appearance. Three of his appearances have also come in the EFL Trophy.
He has also made appearances for England’s U15 and U16 youth teams.
Before signing for Villa, Chrisene was linked with Liverpool, Chelsea, Southampton and Champions League semi-finalists Bayern Munich.
Devon Live reported in July that Chrisene was recently on trial at Anfield, with Jürgen Klopp inviting the player to watch a Champions League fixture as a VIP guest.
The teenager also made appearances for Bayern Munich’s youth team last season.
What Was Said?
Mark Harrison, Head of Aston Villa’s academy, said: “We are delighted to have secured Ben’s signature. He’s a very talented youngster who we are very pleased to have at the club.”
“I would like to thank the owners, the Board and the CEO for their support in bringing talent like Ben’s to Aston Villa and for their ongoing backing in helping us to work towards our shared vision of a thriving and successful academy.”
Speaking to the Exeter City website, manager Matty Taylor said: “Ben goes with our best wishes. He has gone to a Premier League Club, which we are delighted about. However, it is a shame that we are losing our players before we get the chance to really work with them.
“We had to balance Ben’s final year in school with his training, within the first-team environment, and his availability for fixtures. So, the move is a great reflection on the work the academy and first-team coaches have done in terms of developing young players, but is a shame for the fans because they haven’t really seen Ben Chrisene play.
“He got a couple of minutes in a home league fixture and came on late in the cup game against Coventry, but he hasn’t had enough appearances to get any relationship with the fans. That is a real shame because it is part and parcel of our club and the fans want to see the young talent coming through.”
Soon after Chrisene became Exeter’s youngest-ever player last year, Taylor said of Chrisene: “He’s going to play at the top level, it’s as simple as that.
“What that top level is for Ben, he’s 15 years old, I can’t tell you that yet. But I think he’ll play at a top, top standard of football.”
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