Unusual Aston Villa and Sheffield United ‘agreement’ means one signing is already complete

Cameron Archer scored four goals in 29 appearances for Sheffield United, enough to be their third top scorer.Cameron Archer scored four goals in 29 appearances for Sheffield United, enough to be their third top scorer.
Cameron Archer scored four goals in 29 appearances for Sheffield United, enough to be their third top scorer. | Getty Images
Aston Villa must re-sign Sheffield United striker Cameron Archer due to a clause inserted in the Englishman’s move to Bramall Lane last summer.

The Blades’ relegation to the Championship has confirmed the fate of Archer’s future, with the striker set for a Villa Park return once the summer window opens. This is due to an obligatory buy-back clause, activated if Sheffield United were relegated in their first season back in the Premier League.

With just 16 points accumulated from three wins and seven draws throughout the 2023/24 campaign, it’s safe to say the Blades were never quite ready. Even signing Archer for £18.5 million wasn’t enough as the England under-21 international netted four goals in 30 games.

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As our sister publication The Star reports, the failure of Chris Wilder’s side to remain in the English top flight means there’s no discussion over Archer’s future. Villa must now buy the 22-year-old back, just for a fee a few million less than they sold him for.

As a result, the entire fiasco has effectively worked out as an expensive loan, with Villa still gaining some funds. Archer himself, meanwhile, has been able to develop his skillsets and experience further, rising his stocks.

Unai Emery recently confirmed the situation was true. "Yes, at the beginning he's coming back.” Emery said on May 17.

“We are analysing and we are going to meet with [the owners] Nassef and Wes. We are going to try to individually analyse each situation and try to take the best decision with every player,” Emery clarified.

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Archer has scored four goals in 14 senior Villa appearances. His best form to date was on loan at Middlesbrough as he scored 11 and made six assists in 20 appearances during the second half of the 2022/23 season. That slowed last term, albeit in a weak Sheffield United side.

Cameron Archer scored four goals in 29 appearances for Sheffield United, enough to be their third top scorer.Cameron Archer scored four goals in 29 appearances for Sheffield United, enough to be their third top scorer.
Cameron Archer scored four goals in 29 appearances for Sheffield United, enough to be their third top scorer. | Getty Images

It awaits to be seen if Archer will form part of Villa’s plans going forward. If there’s any doubt over that, he’ll probably be sold yet again as the Villans are walking a tightrope with the Premier League’s strict profit and sustainability rules, with sales needed before big purchases. It’ll be decided over the coming weeks.

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