Unai Emery confirms stance on Cameron Archer and Jhon Duran

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Unai Emery has confirmed Cameron Archer and Jhon Duran both have roles to play in what promises to be a hectic 2023/24 campaign for Aston Villa.

Villa qualified for the Europa Conference League last season and could play in excess of 50 matches next term if they go deep in the cup competitions. Emery’s side must overcome a two-legged play-off tie next month to advance to the Europa Conference League group stage, and are one of the early favourites to win the tournament like West Ham did last month.

Villa head coach Emery wants more strength in depth across all positions next term, having already added three players to his squad this summer. Moussa Diaby became the club’s latest signing following the arrivals of Youri Tielemans and Pau Torres earlier in July.

**READ Aston Villa XI vs Fulham predicted as Moussa Diaby set for pre-season debut**
**READ Unai Emery reveals Alex Moreno return, gives Leon Bailey update and Aston Villa injury latest**

The France international is set to make his pre-season debut against Fulham on Wednesday night at the Exploria Stadium in Orlando, after Tielemans and Torres both got their first minutes of pre-season in the thrilling 3-3 draw with Newcastle United last time out.

Ollie Watkins bagged his second goal of pre-season against Eddie Howe’s side and heads into the new campaign after scoring a career-best 15 Premier League goals last season. He is the only player in the Villa squad not to have signed a new contract having joined the club before 2021.

Asked how talks over a new deal are going, Emery told BirminghamLive: “The idea is of course to extend his contract because we are very happy with him and he is our striker, not only him because we also have Jhon Duran and Cameron Archer. We have to use every player and we need other players as well to help and support us. Ollie Watkins’ experiences, his capacity and his commitment to Aston Villa is very important and it’s very important to try and get him for a long time.”

Archer scored 11 goals in 20 appearances for Middlesbrough last season after joining the Championship club on loan for the second half of the campaign. In the summer he scored two goals in England’s triumph at the European U21 Championships under Lee Carsley.

Duran is one of a few players who did not fly out to the USA due to injury, with Alex Moreno, Jacob Ramsey and Bertrand Traore also recovering ahead of the new season. Colombia striker Duran should return to training after Villa fly back into the UK and resume training at Bodymoor Heath next week.

Jhon Duran of Aston Villa

Jhon Duran of Aston Villa (Image: Photo by Neville Williams/Aston Villa FC via Getty Images)

The 19-year-old striker joined Villa in a deal worth up to £18million from MLS side Chicago Fire last January, and made 12 Premier League appearances after joining the club. Duran is yet to start a league game, but has impressed in his cameos under Emery.

Duran has been linked with a move to Espanyol on loan since the summer window opened, but Emery insists that the teenager will not be leaving his squad.

“We are not speaking about the possibility of him going on loan,” Emery said ahead of the club’s match with Fulham in Florida. “He’s a player we will need because he is our second striker with Cameron Archer and we have to use both as well and we have to give them chances to help us, but it’s not a possibility for Jhon Duran to go on loan, it’s to stay here.”

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Aston Villa 2023/24 pre-season special edition

Villa have shown their intent ahead of the new season with the big-money signing of Pau Torres, and the canny free signing of Youri Tielemans.

There’s also the small matter of a European campaign as Villa prepare to battle with other teams from abroad.

The aim is simple, to finish the highest they have done for some time in the Premier League, and to compete for trophies.

There are exciting visions on and off the field at Villa and this season is the perfect time to realise some of the club’s ambitions.

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They are all 48 pages and cost £3, on sale for advance order on the online shop NOW and in retail outlets from July 26.

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