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Aaron Connolly: What next for Ireland’s talented frontman?

Aaron Connolly

Aaron Connolly has completed his loan move to Venezia.

Earlier this week, Ireland international Aaron Connolly turned heads when he made his loan move to Serie B side Venezia official from Premier League side Brighton & Hove Albion.

It is clear that the last 18-24 months have not worked out as well as the Galwegian would have liked, with questions surrounding his attitude and poor form costing him dearly.

However, his move to Italy offers him a great opportunity to get his career back on track after a disappointing loan at Middlesbrough last season.

A clean slate.

Aaron Connolly Michael Obafemi

Outside of the UK & Ireland, few will be aware of the Brighton & Ireland starlets talents, or his past indiscretions on and off the pitch, which will be no bad thing.

Last season, Venezia were relegated from Serie A, but they have forged themselves a reputation as one of the more stylish sides in Italy, which would suit Connolly down to the ground.

Generally starring on the left of a front three, Connolly may have to bide his time to get used to the demands of Italian football.

But given the way he burst onto the scene with Brighton in 2019, and how intense the microscope is placed on him in England and Ireland, a move away from the limelight in a relatively competitive league is no bad thing.

Brighton future?

As far as his Brighton career goes, it is unclear as to what this loan means for his future at the Amex Stadium.

Last season was a disaster for Connolly in all truth, with a heel injury putting an end to any hope he had of making his mark in the Premier League, and Championship.

aaron connolly loan

Granted, that one injury can not be attributed to his poor overall campaign.

Despite Brighton’s high-profile injury crisis last season, Connolly was rarely picked by Seagulls boss Graham Potter before making his loan to Middlesbrough.

At the Riverside he failed to fire, with Boro boss Chris Wilder not opting to extend his stay at the club for the upcoming season.

However, Connolly does have time left on his deal beyond the end of this loan in Serie B, with his deal at the Amex Stadium set to come to a close at the end of the 2023/24 season.

Whether this loan will increase his value for Brighton to sell on next summer remains to be seen, but a good season could just as easily see him catapult his way back into contention with his parent club.

Football is a fickle game, and if Connolly was to light up Serie B, it would go some way to easing fears surrounding his career trajectory.

International hopes?

As far as Connolly’s international hopes, there is no doubt that he needs to improve his club form if he is to force his way back into Stephen Kenny’s plans.

Aaron Connolly

Now 22, Connolly was a key man under Kenny during the early part of his reign, but has struggled to get a look in over the last 12-months following the costly 1-1 draw against Azerbaijan.

But Kenny has been steadfast that if a player is in form, he has no qualms in terms of picking him for squads and the likes.

If a player is not in form, or playing, the pendulum can swing the other way just as easily however. Connolly is no stranger to that ruthless side of the Ireland boss, just like Jamie McGrath.

Whatever standard of play he comes up against, the main thing for Connolly is that he plays, and he plays well. If it goes the other way, it could be a long way back for him as far as the international picture goes.

In May, Kenny was at pains to suggest that the first loan of many players’ careers rarely go well.

But now, it is up to Connolly to prove him right.

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