Barnsley teenager James Bree has officially joined Aston Villa this morning – on a four-and-a-half year contract for an undisclosed fee.
Depending on which source you read or believe, the actual fee is anywhere between £1.4 and £3m, with add-ons included.
In a statement on their official website, Barnsley FC stated: “Following lengthy negotiations, club representatives recently agreed a substantial fee for the 19-year-old defender.
“A product of Barnsley Football Club’s Academy system, Bree has enjoyed a remarkable rise through the Oakwell ranks. His talent and potential was clear from a very early stage in his career and he became the second youngest player to ever represent the club, making his Barnsley debut at the age of just 16 against QPR in 2014.
“Since then Bree has gone on to make 61 first team appearances for the club, further enhancing his reputation as one of the country’s most promising young players.
“Everyone at Barnsley Football Club would like to say a sincere thank you to James for all of his hard work and efforts over the years. He has been a model professional throughout his time at Oakwell and we wish him all the very best in his future career.”
Upon his move, Bree told the Villa website: “I’m delighted to have joined Aston Villa. I’ve been at Barnsley since I was young and the club have helped me develop. I will always be grateful to them and the supporters there.
“I’m joining a massive club and hopefully I can bring something to this team. Steve Bruce was a big factor in my decision. When I met him I knew it was the right move for me.
“The facilities are great and it’ll be nice to get going, get started and see what I can do this season for the team.”
As well as completing the deal for Bree, Villa are also keen to conclude a transfer for Barnsley’s inspirational captain, Conor Hourihane, before the January transfer window closes.
The Reds could face Bree when they go to Villa Park for a Championship fixture on Valentine’s Day, Tuesday, February 14.