Arsenal academy graduate Lino Sousa has waved goodbye to North London after agreeing a permanent move to Aston Villa.

The young left-back, linked with clubs like Rangers and Juventus, will now seek regular playing time under former Arsenal manager Unai Emery at Villa Park, buut not before spending the rest of the season on loan with Plymouth Argyle.

Lino Sousa
Lino Sousa

Lino Sousa, a promising left-back who rose through the ranks at Arsenal, has embarked on a new chapter in his career, signing a permanent deal with Aston Villa. The 19-year-old, signed from West Bromwich Albion in 2022, enjoyed a productive spell with the Arsenal academy, featuring for both the Under-18s and Under-21s, making over 50 appearances in two seasons.

Despite impressing in training and even finding himself on the bench for a Premier League fixture against Liverpool earlier this month, Sousa struggled to break into Mikel Arteta‘s first-team plans. The emergence of Jakub Kiwior and the preferred use of an inverted left-back role, not quite fitting Sousa’s style, limited his opportunities.

“Rangers, Galatasaray, and Juventus were all keen on him,” reported the Daily Mail, highlighting the potential clubs interested in securing his signature. However, Sousa opted for a reunion with former Arsenal manager Unai Emery, currently leading the charge at Villa Park.

With regular first-team football a priority, Villa’s two experienced left-backs, both in their 30s, offered Sousa a clearer path to playing time. This seemingly played a decisive role in his decision.

While Arsenal lose a talented young defender, Sousa heads to Villa with a chance to showcase his abilities and carve out a career in the Premier League. Will he find the opportunities he craved under Emery? Only time will tell, but one thing’s for sure: Arsenal fans will be keen to see how their former academy star fares in claret and blue.