Chukwuemeka's ball-carrying ability and eye for an incisive pass have been key attributes in a rapid rise through the ranks.
Chelsea have completed the £20m signing of 18-year-old wonderkid midfielder Carney Chukwuemeka from Aston Villa on a 6-year contract.
The midfield all-rounder is regarded as one of the brightest talents in England and arrives at Chelsea having recently helped England win the 2022 Under-19 European Championship — scoring in the final against Israel.
He featured in every game for the young Lions and was named in the UEFA Team of the Tournament following a series of eye-catching performances.
In this post, FootballOrbit brings you all you need to know about the latest arrival at Stamford Bridge.
Carney Chibueze Chukwuemeka was born on the 20th of October 2003 in Eisenstadt, Austria. He was born to Nigerian parents of Igbo descent.
His parents moved to England where he was raised in Northampton.
Chukwuemeka started his football career at the Northampton Town academy. He moved to Aston Villa academy in 2016, aged 12.
In July 2020, he signed his first professional contract with Aston Villa.
“The ultimate goal is to populate the Under-23 team with 11 outstanding 16, 17 and 18-year-olds, then I will know it’s working,”.
“And that will take years, not months. We need to be higher in recruiting the best 8-year-old, 9-year-old, 10-year-old, 11-year-old, 12-year-old, 14, 16 — one a year that makes it and gets a professional contract at 16″.
“I want that player. We have one right now, probably the best 16-year-old in England, Carney [Chukwuemeka]. Absolutely no debate, he’s starting for the U-23s.”Aston Villa director Christian Purslow describing Chukwuemeka as the best player in England in his age group when he was 16.
In April 2021, Aston Villa U-18s demolished their Newcastle United counterparts 6-1 in the FA Youth Cup to earn a place in the semi-final of the competition — with a certain 17-year-old midfielder, Carney Chukwuemeka, scoring an hat-trick.
That performance made everyone take notice of his huge potential.
Aged just 17, Chukwuemeka made his senior debut for Aston Villa on the 19th of May 2021 in a 2-1 away victory over Tottenham Hotspur. He hit the post just within minutes of coming on.
At 17 years and 211 days, Carney Chukwuemeka became the third-youngest player to ever play for Aston Villa in the Premier League after Gareth Barry (17y 68d) and Rushian Hepburn-Murphy (16y 198d).
On the 23rd of May 2021, he was named Aston Villa Academy Player of the Season for the 2020/21 season.
The following day, Chukwuemeka was part of the Aston Villa U-18s squad that won the FA Youth Cup — beating Liverpool U-18s 2-1 in the final. He finished the tournament as the top scorer.
He made his first senior start on the 28th of August 2021 in a 1-1 draw against Brentford, putting in an outstanding performance.
In total, Chukwuemeka made 14 Premier League appearances for Aston Villa and became the club’s youngest player to make a goal contribution with his assist in a 2-0 win over Norwich City in December 2021.
On the 2nd of August 2022, Aston Villa and Chelsea confirmed that both clubs had reached an agreement for the permanent transfer of Chukwuemeka, subject to the player agreeing personal terms and undergoing a medical.
On the 4th of August 2022, Chelsea announced the signing of Chukwuemeka on a 6-year contract.
Chelsea paid £15 million (€17.93m/$18.27m) for his services to Aston Villa, with a further £5 million in add-ons.
Chukwuemeka is part of the first signings of the Todd Boehly era at Chelsea.
Born to Nigerian parents in Austria and raised in England, Carney Chukwuemeka is eligible to play for the national teams of Nigeria, Austria and England.
After making two appearances for England’s U-17 national team; on the 29th of March 2021, he made his debut for the England U-18s in a 2-0 victory over Wales.
On 2nd of September 2021, Chukwuemeka made his debut for the England U-19s during a 2-0 victory over Italy U-19s at St. George’s Park, captaining the side.
On the 10th of November 2021, he scored his first England U-19 goal in a 4-0 victory over Andorra U-19 in a 2022 UEFA European Under-19 Championship qualification match.
On the 17th of June 2022, Chukwuemeka was named in the England squad for the 2022 UEFA European Under-19 Championship finals.
He featured in every game of the tournament, scoring in group stage victories against Austria and Serbia.
He was handed the captain’s armband for the final group match against Israel.
On the 1st of July 2022, Chukwuemeka scored the second goal in England’s 3–1 extra-time victory over Israel in the final.
With 3 goals and 2 assists in just 5 matches, he was included in the UEFA team of the tournament.
Carney Chukwuemeka is a central midfielder, predominantly operating as a box-to-box No.8 but has also occasionally been deployed at No.10 due to his creative qualities.
He is composed on the ball, can pick a pass from midfield, and is extremely athletic, which allows him to continually heap pressure on the opposition with his pressing, should he be asked.
However, his greatest talent is arguably his shooting. But his ball-carrying ability and eye for an incisive pass have been key attributes in a rapid rise through the ranks.
Chukwuemeka is a powerful runner who has a rare blend of exceptional close control, intelligent movement off the ball and the ability to evade an opposition press with his one-versus-one dribbling ability.
Carney Chukwuemeka is one of the 10 Premier League youngsters to watch out for in 2022/23 season.