Comment: Cameron Archer's move to Sheffield United should be a win-win for everyone - including England
Everyone should win from this move – good for the Blades and good for England too.
Paul Heckingbottom desperately needs a goalscorer who can lead the line and with sure things out of his price bracket, Archer is a pretty good for an undisclosed fee thought to be pushing towards £20m.
Eleven goals in 20 Championship appearances – including two at Bramall Lane – on loan at Middlesbrough in the second half of last season are a promising sign and not a one-off either – he scored seven in the second half of the previous campaign on loan at Preston North End – but Championship to Premier League is not a step up everyone makes.
In Oli McBurnie and Rhian Brewster the Blades have previously signed players who flourished in the second tier but were unable to hit double-figure numbers in the top flight (or in Brewster's case, any at all). This deal comes with no guarantees.
But Archer has plenty of talent and at 21, lots of scope for improvement with the right coaching, which is why he has been handed a four-year contract. He will be itching to prove he is Premier League-quality and has earnt the chance.
His pace, movement and that increasingly rare commodity in forwards, a willingness to play on the shoulder of the last defender, tick a lot of boxes for the Blades, who have started the season without the injured McBurnie, Brewster and Daniel Jebbison, and with Billy Sharp moving on to pastures new in new.
Even more painfully, second striker Iliman Ndiaye has moved on to Marseille. Archer is no like-for-like replacement for him, but he fills some of the holes the Senegalese will leave in different ways.
For Villa, it is a chance to balance the books with good money for an academy product unlikely to have much more than a bit-part this season had he stayed – and the chance of getting him back if he lives up to expectations, courtesy of a reported buy-back clause.
Ollie Watkins' Europa League hat-trick was belated reward for a strong start to the season but Danny Ings found to his cost when he was competing for a place with the striker that two into one do not go.
Leon Bailey is a better option than Watkins as the player who can operate wide of or instead of the No 9, and has two goals himself already. The same is true of Jhon Duran, bought from Chicago Fire for £18m this summer.
Against Everton on Sunday, Archer was the substitute for the substitute (Philippe Coutinho) – an indication of his place in the queue.
A buy-back covers Villa's blushes and lets the Blades make a signing that is somewhere between a loan and a permanent deal, allowing their Premier League money to fight off Boro and Leeds United without taking up a precious loan spot.
It is good for England too.
With Ivan Toney suspended until January, the talent puddle of English strikers playing in Europe's top leagues got even smaller. Watkins is making his case but Marcus Rashford's early-season performances at centre-forward have been a good advert for those who argue he is much better from the left, Newcastle United's Callum Wilson is currently having the same problems Ings had and Gareth Southgate seems indifferent to Roma's Tammy Abraham.
Archer was only a substitute when England won the European Under-21 Championship in the summer but just six of the starting XI – Max Aarons, Curtis Jones, Emile Smith Rowe, Morgan Gibbs-White, Anthony Gordon and Angel Gomes (in Ligue 1) had made 15 top-division starts.
Smith Rowe has slipped down the pecking order and Jones will find competition tough at Liverpool, as will Manchester City's Cole Palmer, despite a strong start. Premier League transfers for Aarons and James Trafford are good news, as is Levi Colwill being trusted at Chelsea, and regular football Premier League football for Archer should help too.
But with around £18m shelled out of a tight budget, the people who need to benefit most are the Blades. Archer is no silver-bullet for the Premier League paupers, but their chances of staying in the division have just improved considerably.