Once capped at U16 level for Ireland, talented striker Louie Barry has joined Premier League side Aston Villa following a spell in Spain with Barcelona.
Barry featured for the Boys in Green before switching his international allegiances to England, the country of his birth, where he has played at U15, U16 and U17 level.
The 16-year-old joined Barcelona during the summer after impressing with West Brom’s youth academy and it is thought that Villa will pay around £1 million to secure his services.
Academy manager Mark Harrison told Villa TV: “It (Barry’s signing) sends a powerful message about the ambition of this football club.
“We’re delighted – Louie is a local person and his family are all Villa fans, as is Louie.
“He is still a very young man but as he’s developed, he’s always been one player that you always recognise as having outstanding attributes. He’s got a fantastic mentality, he’s desperate to do well for this football club.
"It sends a powerful message about the ambition of this football club."
Academy Manager Mark Harrison on the arrival of Louie Barry from Barcelona… #AVFC
— Aston Villa (@AVFCOfficial) January 23, 2020
“He’s really driven, he’s got great family support, but in terms of what he can achieve, we firmly believe that he can be an outstanding No.9 for this football club.”
Barry qualifies for Ireland through two of his grandparents but his impressive performances at underage level for England, which have seen him score nine goals in 14 games across both U16s and U17s mean he will likely remain with the country of his birth.
Barcelona had reportedly fought of competition from fellow European giants PSG in securing Barry’s signature over the summer but he made just 10 appearances for the club’s youth teams after his registration was delayed, scoring two goals.
Barry’s former club West Brom were scheduled to receive £235,000 in compensation, according to the BBC, but that money has never been paid despite the club reporting the matter to FIFA.
Villa will be hoping Barry can be a talent for the future.