Aston Villa have beaten a number of clubs to the signatures of Lamare Bogarde and Oliwier Zych.
Words: Regan Foy | @findfoy
Aston Villa have continued their academy recruitment drive with the signings of highly-rated defender Lamare Bogarde and goalkeeper Oliwier Zych.
Both players will join the Under-18 set-up for this season, joining new arrivals Ben Chrisene and Sil Swinkels in the side.
16-year-old Bogarde, who joins from Feyenoord, has represented his country at youth level and can play as a centre-back or as a holding midfielder.
Aston Villa have beaten the likes of Arsenal, Juventus, Schalke and Borussia Dortmund to the Dutch youngster’s signature, and will pay a relatively small compensation fee for his services.
Nephew of former Chelsea full-back Winston Bogarde, Lamare is recognised as one of the most talented players in his age group and his arrival is a signal of intent for the development project under Mark Harrison – with Arsenal said to be prepared to ‘blow rivals out of the water’ in the hunt for the Dutch youth international’s signature.
The prospect played in 19 games for Feyenoord’s under 17 side last season, and has earned praise for his academy-based performances at the Dutch giants.
On his arrival, Academy manager Mark Harrison said:
“He is a player with immense potential, and the commitment that will go into fulfilling that starts now.”
Bogarde scored and assisted on his debut for the Under-18 side in a 3-1 win against Reading on 26th September – as the youth side continue their unbeaten side to the season.
As well as Bogarde, Aston Villa have also completed the signing of Poland youth international Oliwier Zych (above).
The recently turned 16-year-old goalkeeper, who joins from Zaglebie Lubin in his native Poland, has impressed a number of clubs at youth level and has even found himself on the bench in the Quarter-Final of the Polish Cup against Lechia Gdansk.
The goalkeeper has had trials in the past for Arsenal, Liverpool and Bayern Munich, but it was Aston Villa who pounced first following the ‘keepers coming-of-age.
His former club are known for producing strong goalkeepers, with Kacper Bieszczad entering into the club’s first-team reserves at 18-years-old, and 17-year-old Bartosz Wierzchowski attracting interest from Wisla Krakow and Werder Bremen.
Mark Harrison said upon Zych’s arrival:
“This signing, along with all of our new additions, is the result of a lot of hard work in terms of recruitment.
“It is further evidence of the club’s vision to build a long-term player development strategy, which is backed by Nassef, Wes, Christian and Johan.”