Aston Villa have announced they have formed a new strategic partnership with Japanese club Vissel Kobe.
The partnership will aim to enhance youth development as well as the sharing of ideas, techniques and best practices.
The collaboration between the two clubs will also look to open up pathways for talented Japanese players to play for Villa.
Vissel Kobe play in the Japanese J1 League and currently leading the table with 58 points after 29 matches.
They are joining the growing network of clubs that are involved with V Sports, the holding company of Villa owners Wes Edens and Nassef Sawiris.
Egyptian Premier League club ZED FC and Primeira Liga outfit Vitoria SC are also part of V Sports, who took over the Villans in 2018.
A senior delegation from Kobe will visit the Premier League outfit at the end of this month to mark the beginning of the partnership.
Two of the club’s Under-16 players will train with the Villa academy during the visit. Villa will also travel to Japan next year to participate in an international tournament.
A statement on Villa’s official website said: “As part of this exciting step forward for both clubs, Villa and Vissel Kobe will work to create a bilateral development framework for players and staff which will enhance youth development, alongside the cooperative sharing of ideas, techniques and best practice.
“The partnership will look to further open up pathways for talented Japanese players to play in Europe and, ultimately, at Aston Villa.
“This synergy between the clubs will also extend to first team level, with the exchange of technical knowledge and coaching methodology together with collaboration in the areas of performance, scouting and recruitment, data analysis and overall squad management.”
Villa have seen a huge improvement in their fortunes since Unai Emery was appointed as manager in 2022.
A seventh-place finish last season means they are competing in the Europa Conference League this term, something which looked impossible at the time of the Spaniard’s appointment.
Villa have made an excellent start this season as they are sitting fifth in the Premier League standings after eight matches.
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