The Summer Transfer Window, you either love it or you hate it. Every year seems to be a busy one for Aston Villa, none more so than this summer. Just a month ago, Villa won promotion back to the Premier League following the Play-Off final success over Derby County. There hasn’t been much time to bask in that glory or too much time to relax as we prepare for our return. Villa’s success last season came as a surprise in the end following the 10 game winning streak and the team built up last season, despite gaining promotion back to the Premier League, has caused somewhat of a headache for Head Coach, Dean Smith and the Chief Executive, Christian Purslow. As Purslow has already explained, loaning players with no option to buy further down the line is a terrible business model and won’t be happening in the future at Villa Park.
Since the Play-Off final Villa have lost Tammy Abraham, Axel Tuanzebe and Tyrone Mings back to their parent clubs. Villa also released the likes of Glenn Whelan, Mile Jedinak, Alan Hutton, Albert Adomah, Mark Bunn, Ross McCormack and Micah Richards. So some big holes to replace, and no I’m not just talking about Richards’ ever expanding waist line.
I think we all knew it was going to be a tough and busy summer at Villa Park. To be in with a shot of being competitive, many of us have come to the conclusion we needed 9-10 additions to the squad. With the 170m bonus of being in the Premier League and the owners deep pockets, without being hamstrung by FFP, that shouldn’t be an issue but it still doesn’t make negotiations in the transfer market any easier.
Villa have secured the signings of Kortney Hause and Anwar El-Ghazi for 3m and 4m respectively. Hause joins from Wolves after Villa took up the agreed option to sign him, whilst El-Ghazi joins from Lille in a similar deal. Both represent good value deals for Villa. Little money for young players who both played their part in Villa’s promotion. Relatively risk free and a good starting point for Dean Smith as he builds a side ready to compete. The big and somewhat surprising signing so far has been the record 22m capture of Brazilian forward, Wesley Moraes from Club Brugge. Wesley is a 6’3” battering ram type of forward who looks quick and good with his feet. This one came very left field and shows that Villa are exploring many avenues in their quest to rebuild the side.
However, back on these shores, Villa have been left frustrated in their pursuit of new signings. Clubs have been making life difficult for Villa in negotiations for the likes of Tyrone Mings, Adam Webster, Kelvin Phillips, Said Benrahma, Jack Butland and Neil Etheridge. Villa have to be careful that they aren’t paying over the odds and being held to ransom by clubs but are in a tricky situation where clubs know we have the money and need to build a squad. This in turns can drive a players price up and then it is up to Villa to re-negotiate or stump up the cash for these players. The prices being banded around of 30m for Andy Webster and 30m for Kelvin Phillips seems excessive. For Championship players it does seem very high figures but I suppose you have to take into consideration that these players are those clubs’ best talents and what are they worth to those clubs? Villa demanded upwards of 30m for Jack Grealish last summer when Tottenham Hotspur were circling so it is difficult to criticise clubs holding out for as much as possible. There’s also the case of inflation in football prices. 15m now is what 7m was a few years ago. 30m now is what 18m or so would have been before so that has to be taken into consideration aswell.
There are 6 weeks to go until the window closes, Villa could easily do with another 7-8 signings on top of what they already have to try and compete in the Premier League next season. June is a notoriously quiet month but with players and staff returning off their holidays and returning to Pre-Season any day now, I would think the ball will start rolling. It will be an interesting 6 weeks, with many twists and turns to come.