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Aston Villa confirm Lino Sousa signing and Plymouth Argyle loan move

Aston Villa confirm Lino Sousa signing and Plymouth Argyle loan move
© Reuters
Aston Villa announce the arrival of former Arsenal left-back Lino Sousa and immediately loan the 19-year-old to Championship side Plymouth Argyle.

Aston Villa have confirmed the arrival of former Arsenal left-back Lino Sousa, who has been immediately loaned out to Plymouth Argyle.

The 19-year-old swaps the Emirates for Villa Park after failing to make a single senior appearance for the Gunners, who poached him from the West Bromwich Albion academy in January 2022.

Sousa - an England Under-19 international - helped Arsenal reach the final of the FA Youth Cup last season, and he struck three goals in 14 youth-team games in the first half of the 2023-24 campaign.

However, the closest that the 2005-born defender got to a first-team debut was making the bench in a Premier League win over Brentford in September 2022 and Arsenal's 2-0 loss to Liverpool in the third round of the FA Cup last month.

On Wednesday, it was reported that Aston Villa were poised to sign Sousa from their North London counterparts, and the Lions have now announced the capture of the talented teenager, who links up with ex-Arsenal boss Unai Emery.

Villa have confirmed that they have paid Arsenal an undisclosed fee to take Sousa off their hands, but rather than compete with Alex Moreno and Lucas Digne for minutes straight away, he will ply his trade in the Championship for the next few months.

Argyle head coach Ian Foster - a former England youth team coach - hailed Sousa as a "really exciting player" upon his arrival, telling the Plymouth website: "Lino is somebody that I've known for a while.

"I've always been excited by his performances at Arsenal and with the England development teams. He's a really exciting player with huge potential and I think you can see why the likes of Arsenal and Aston Villa have taken him.

"He'll come in, in competition on the left-hand side of the pitch. He's got a lovely left foot; he's athletic; he can handle the ball in tight areas; he can defend in 1v1 situations and he's good in the final phase as well."

Director of Football Neil Dewsnip added: "Lino is a young player with a tremendous grounding in football, and is a hugely exciting prospect for the future.

"He has attracted the eye of Aston Villa, who have a good record of bringing in young, talented footballers, and our excellent relationship with them means we were in a good position to be ones with whom he can get some loan experience.

"He joins several other young, hungry players making their way in the world of football. We feel this is a perfect for place for Lino and our other young players to further their footballing education, and to benefit Plymouth Argyle."

Sousa's switch to Home Park represents a fourth notable loan acquisition for Plymouth during the winter window, as the left-back joins Tottenham Hotspur duo Ashley Phillips and Alfie Devine on the South Coast, as well as Leeds United's Darko Gyabi.

The defender is the third Arsenal player to depart on deadline day after Alex Runarsson and Swansea City loanee Charles Sagoe Jr, who could face his former Gunners teammate in Saturday's Championship clash for both of their debuts with their new clubs.

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