Two Head Out The Valley
Academy graduate Aaron Barnes has headed to Colchester United on a free transfer and Karlan Ahearne-Grant goes to Crawley Town on a loan spell.
21 year old full back Barnes has been a key part of our U18 and U23 sides since he arrived from Arsenal at the age of 16 and for our U18s he was an ever present in their double winning campaign of 2014/15 before helping the U23s to the league title in 2016.
He made his first team debut as a substitute in the victory over Swindon Town at The Valley last April and went on to make three senior appearances in the EFL Trophy this season. He did head to Torquay United for a loan spell earlier this month but the decision has been taken to let him move on.
Speaking to the Official Site Academy Manager Steve Avory explained.
'In his five years here, he`s been an important player to whichever team he`s been in at that time, but he certainly needed some senior experience at this stage. Now he has the opportunity to get a move to a league club and I couldn`t be more pleased for him because it was becoming more difficult for him to see a pathway here beyond the successful one he has been on so far. Aaron has progressed here in every year he`s been with us. He`s such a good trainer, wants to learn, listens, asks questions, loves the game and just always wants to become better. He loves the game and is a real, solid character who you can rely on both on and off the field. We have the highest regard for him and his family and wish him all the best in the future.'
Fellow Academy graduate Ahearne Grant heads into Crawley Town and League Two for the remainder of the season to ensure he gets greater game time to bring on his development.
The 20 year old has made 31 appearances so far this season for the club but 19 of those have come from the substitute's bench.
With added competition from Stephy Mavididi, Sullay Kaikai and Michal Zyro, manager Karl Robinson explained.
'Karlan has really moved mountains this season, he has worked so hard and I think are fans are beginning to see that on the pitch. I sometimes have to be a bit unselfish, though, and look after him and that is the reason for letting him go out on loan. I rate him so much, I really believe that he is the future of the club and that is why I think it is so important for him to go and play regularly. Karlan is going to go and play under Harry, who was a top, top player and someone that Lee Bowyer and I have a good relationship with. Crawley are a side that are full of confidence and I think he can make a big difference to them.'