At last, Champion’s league. But now what happens?

So after Spurs’ defeat against Citeh it’s official. We’ve qualified for the Big Ears cup.
First off, congratulations to the players, the staff, the owners, but probably mostly Unai Emery, who whatever happens in the future has probably already established himself as one of Villa’s great managers. And rightly so. To take a team that looked doomed to be relegated just a short while back to the Champion’s League is a fantastic achievement.

But at the same time it begs a load of questions.

I posted a link last night that made for incredibly interesting reading. The takeaway line is this;

Our analysis shows that Villa will easily exceed £300m in revenue next season, obliterating their previous record of £218m in 2022-23, as well as West Ham’s record of £257m for a non-Big Six side.

And that is a conservative estimate. I highly recommend you read the article, if you haven’t already;

But then, as soon as we think it’s all great news, so just tonight I’ve read that we may be £107 million over the FFP limit. Again interestingly, it’s from the same source, so hopefully there’s no agenda;

The new rules are all a bit vague, as there’s supposed to be some limit of an unknown multiple of whatever TV money the lowest club gets. It will all be voted on in the General meeting that’s due, but it’s probably correct to say that this is going to affect Aston Villa more than any other Prem club purely because just as we would normally be ramping up our spending so it justifies our CL position, we may actually have to sell players first.
How typical is that of Villa’s luck?

I profess to not understanding the rules regarding FFP, because the numbers are ridiculous, the game has gone financially stupid and I frankly am past caring.
And all I know is the clubs that spend the most money, get the best players and generally do the best, performance-wise. Man City and Chelsea might offer protestations, but we all know they bought everything they’ve achieved in the last 20 years or so because they spent fortunes. C’est la vie and I’m not convinced much is going to change. Or maybe that multiple I mentioned might at least partly reduce the gulf in club spends somewhat?
One thing I don’t get about FFP is that our owners were buying equity in the club, which I thought meant we weren’t adding more debt and were actually benefitting our ratios?

Whatever, just as the rumours of elite players being touted as possible targets for the club abound, does it mean that we have to sell our best players before we can entertain the thought?
And who are those best players?
Well, there are some standouts. Martinez, McGinn, Luiz and Watkins would pull in what? £300 million? (60, 60, 80 and 100 million is my pure estimate). But you’ve just ripped the backbone out of the existing side, so it just isn’t going to happen. In fact, I don’t see one of them leaving, let alone all of them. As for the Watkins to Man U rumours, that’s just laughable and I’m not even going into why, as much as they might be able to pay way more wages.

The even more worrying thing is what do we regard as a big enough spend that might put us in a position where we can at least hold our own for a while in the CL and not see the team ruined by the constant Thursday-Sunday thing that threatened us so much this season?
We saw that we couldn’t sustain our earlier exploits, as much as the lads actually did better than things seemed and managed to keep dragging points from games even when they didn’t look likely.
But would it be fair to expect the same in the ultimate cup? No, is the simple answer to that.

We might not do so bad with injuries next season, so you could say we in effect have new players coming in. But it’s clear that a one in, one out policy will not suffice.
And sadly, neither will a £200 million budget get you very far these days. Let’s face it, as obscene as it sounds, it’s a couple of decent players and one pretty good one. We haven’t even entered elite player level there either.

It seems to me we are going to have to go with what we’ve got, while adding some “cheap” gems that it seems Emery and the scouting team have an eye for.
Not yet elite, but possessing the ability to become so.

It’s going to be an interesting season. With the aim being that we manage to get into the CL the season after next. Sustainability will be the name of the game and that’s the hardest part of all. You have to be in it and stay in it to win it.

Up the European Villa!


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  1. Sidforever
    Sidforever May 15, 2024 at 9:09 pm . Reply

    A great article. Amazing in timings, just as you pasted this, I had posted the following on the last link. It looks at the savings Villa could make in players leaving and it is significant with PSR.

    Well the stupid articles are appearing that despite qualifying for the Champions League we will have to sell players. One report via BDF had an expert stating Villa are between £68 to £107m over PSR rules, then state they are not sure about the nuances of changes for next year.
    I’ve tried to work out savings the club will make on players leaving this year, focusing on salaries not transfer fees from Transfer Market

    Per week
    Longlet: £150k
    Zaniola £60k
    Samson £48k
    Total: £258k per week and yearly £13.4m

    Club Want to leave:
    Coutinho £125k
    Dendoncker £90k
    Chambers £ 50k
    Hause £8k
    Total: £273k per week and yearly £14.2m
    Grand Total: £531k per week and £27.6m

    Would not surprise me if sold:
    Digne £120k – him & Morano over 30
    Cash £80k – new RB bought in winter & possible new signing
    Olsen £50k – Gauci bought winter
    Carlos £100k – Age & Italian club want him – buy younger.
    Total: £350k per week and £18.2m
    Grand total: £881k per week and £45.8m per year.

    These are no insignificant amounts and would have a big impact on PSR compliance.

    If all were sold and a big if at that and 4 new £150k players bought in that would still save £281k per week and £14.6m and leave the team stronger and costing less.

    All above is speculative. But with Monchi and Emery knowing what is available and the deadwood to shift, the above won’t be a million miles away from the influencing their decisions.

  2. Hitchens60
    Hitchens60 May 15, 2024 at 9:55 pm . Reply

    I won’t repost what I put on the last thread.

    Suffice it to say that any change in PSR rules (such as the spending cap multiple which incidentally Villa have already voted against) will not apply to next season so it’s a complete red herring in the short term.

    Badger, you are correct on debt but for some completely inexplicable reason debt never gets raised in regard to sustainability. Villa have zero debt – one of only two or three clubs, yet it appears to count for nothing. Strange when you consider that it’s lack of cash / debt which is the principal cause of club’s problems. This fixation with losses and spending caps is bizarre – fundamentally businesses go bust because they run out of cash and cannot finance their debt – ah well what do I know?

    If Villa sell players it will be because it’s of overall strategic benefit not because of idiotic PSR rule – our owners and manager are far more savvy than that.

    Keep the faith.

  3. Bum Bum
    Bum Bum May 15, 2024 at 10:06 pm . Reply

    Ouch…I almost feel sorry for Ten Bob being booed during his end of season on the pitch address…

  4. Bum Bum
    Bum Bum May 15, 2024 at 10:22 pm . Reply

    Yeah, great piece Badger. According to Canadian Pete Luiz is on a mere £75k a week, so even though he has a couple of years left, we’ll need to up that. We really need to clear the list Sid mentions at a saving of over £40m a year. That’s a shocking bomb squad.
    Can we sell Villa Park to ourselves like Chelsea have just done? Or NEWS sponsor Villa Park as Citeh have done to raise cash?
    I can’t see any leaving this summer, not Cash or Digne or Moreno even if they are getting on. We’ll need everyone fit and on board next year. We can’t expect the squad to do the minutes they did this year. They’ll be dead by February otherwise.
    I know a few have pointed out the obvious that the CL teams are better in quality to the ECL, but from the games I’ve seen this season, they’re rarely frenetic and more like a game of chess…Thoughts???

    P.s I told you there was nothing to worry about with 4th weeks ago! My trusty Excel spreadsheet was remarkably accurate and we actually performed better than my modest predictions!!! Just call me Mystic Bum!!!!


    1. Hitchens60
      Hitchens60 May 16, 2024 at 7:35 am . Reply

      Didn’t we already do that Bum Bum the year we got promoted – sell VP to ourselves like Derby did. Unlike Derby it seems we didn’t break any rules but there was a lot of mutterings at the time

      We could a Barcelona and forward sell our next ten years TV revenue -:)

  5. Gerry
    Gerry May 15, 2024 at 10:42 pm . Reply

    Aston Villa’s Italy midfielder Nicolo Zaniolo has confirmed he will miss this summer’s European Championships.

    The 24-year-old had to be withdrawn less than 15 minutes after coming on as a substitute in Monday’s 3-3 home draw with Liverpool with reports suggesting, external he has suffered a microfracture in his foot.

    It means his loan spell at Villa has come to an end and he will return to parent club Galatasaray having made 39 appearances for Unai Emery’s team, scoring three goals.

    In a message on Instagram, external, Zaniolo expressed his disappointment at missing out on the tournament in Germany but said he is sure “that day will come”.

    1. Bum Bum
      Bum Bum May 16, 2024 at 7:36 am . Reply

      That’s a downer. I really enjoyed having him at Villa. All the best to him.

      1. Ardent Villain
        Ardent Villain May 16, 2024 at 11:19 am . Reply

        Agreed – thought that he was one of those who was slowly adapting to Emery’s ways, and that the best was yet to come (like Bailey before him).

        Will be interesting to see if we try to bring him back for next season.

  6. Ardent Villain
    Ardent Villain May 15, 2024 at 11:24 pm . Reply

    Good read Badger!

    Personally, I don’t expect any marquee-type signings this summer, nor for that matter any big departures. That doesn’t seem Emery’s style, apart from anything else.

    I’ll be very happy if we get through pre-season with the likes of Buendia, Mings, Kamara and Ramsey fully-fit and raring to go – it’ll be like having half a new team in itself.

    1. BFR
      BFR May 16, 2024 at 8:27 pm . Reply

      I can only see Buendia and hopefully Ramsey being ready in August, Ardent. I doubt Mings will be ready and Bouba definitely won’t be. I worry about Ramsey; it’s a very strange one to keep recurring.

  7. Bradley Ricketts
    Bradley Ricketts May 16, 2024 at 12:54 am . Reply

    Good article, of course, however, we will now have Tuesday/Wednesday to Saturday instead of Sunday.

    I think we will make good signings and I trust the club to make the right decisions.

    My main concern is that I’m reading 900 people are losing their seats next season, and earlier I’m pretty sure I seen my seat ripped off it’s place. 🤨

    1. Tom
      Tom May 16, 2024 at 9:16 am . Reply

      It’s all in the name of progression though right? From what I gather and have read, those 900 seats will be prioritised and looked after one way or another.

      1. BFR
        BFR May 16, 2024 at 10:17 am . Reply

        Does any one know how much the capacity will increase with these changes? Have the club actually specified??

  8. Bum Bum
    Bum Bum May 16, 2024 at 7:44 am . Reply
  9. 1874 was a good year
    1874 was a good year May 16, 2024 at 12:51 pm . Reply

    I think that we’ll be more than okay. Having our injured players back will be like having a rake of new signings and I agree with Ardent that splashing money out on big marquee signings isn’t Emery’s style anyway.
    I expect more of the Torres type of signing, top quality players at bargain prices. I’m hearing that we’re looking at Soler (£17m) and Baena (£25m) and these are just the type of players I mean. Soler, currently at PSG, has CL and international experience and Baena, at only 23, has the most assists in La Liga. Emery also knows him well having managed him at Villareal.
    The players are out there and I trust that Emery and Monchi will get what we need without breaking the bank.

    1. Ardent Villain
      Ardent Villain May 16, 2024 at 1:43 pm . Reply

      Since Emery & co have been here, our transfer dealings have been very clever; they seem to identify who the promising young players are around Europe (and even in the Championship, if Morgan Rogers is anything to go by – ) and pick them up at what are bargain prices by PL standards.

      This is the direct opposite of the likes of the soap opera that is ManUre, where twice a season they feed the media with tales of mega-money signings that they are supposedly going to make, with apparently no real thought of whether any of the ‘names’ would actually fit their footballing system (if they had one…) – but it makes for good click-bait.

      The players you’ve mentioned both have in common that they are well known to Emery and Monchi, and would probably jump at the chance to work with them again.

      1. Bum Bum
        Bum Bum May 16, 2024 at 2:40 pm . Reply

        Chesty seems to be the steal of the century! He’s adapted and performed brilliantly!

  10. Texas Villan
    Texas Villan May 16, 2024 at 2:37 pm . Reply

    It’s going to be curious to see what Emery prioritizes next year. No doubt he is bought into where the leadership are taking the club, when he made the EPL his priority (at least verbally), because although us fans know that competing at the champions league is the pinnacle for club football, it’s what our owners know bring in the most money. So while I know a lot of focus will be on who we can buy to enable us to compete in the champions league, I actually think our goal is to repeat this year on year – get in the champions league again next year. The increased revenue, attraction to sponsors and players after 2-3 years of consistently entering the champions league all of a sudden gives us a business model that adds value to FFP, and enables us to consider stepping up the type of player we can attract. So I’m thrilled to qualify, but I’d sacrifice progressing to the knock out stage happily if I thought we’d make 4th or higher in the EPL again.

    1. Ardent Villain
      Ardent Villain May 16, 2024 at 7:20 pm . Reply

      Like you, I’d assume that remaining in the top-4 now becomes a priority; football will follow the money, and unfortunately the CL becomes an addiction that no club can really kick.

    2. BFR
      BFR May 16, 2024 at 8:24 pm . Reply

      Exactly right, Texas. Villa need to analyse Newcastle’s season and learn their lessons. It will be even more difficult next season.

      Personally, I think at least one ‘marquee’ signing has to arrive. Surely, CL qualification warrants it. We’ve gone up a level so the squad must follow suit…

  11. kjonesjenkins
    kjonesjenkins May 16, 2024 at 4:49 pm . Reply

    Anthony Martial on a free rumoured on the BBC football gossip page during the last 2 transfer windows. Good at dribbling,shooting and pacy. Too similar to Diaby and Bailey?

    1. Holte
      Holte May 16, 2024 at 7:02 pm . Reply

      No Manchester United rejects for me. A poisoned club with players who seem to have bad habits and bad attitudes. Leave them with Ten Bob to deal with.

    2. Ardent Villain
      Ardent Villain May 16, 2024 at 7:17 pm . Reply

      Can’t see that one. He’ll be like most of their players – on mega-money compared to our lot.

      We’re likely to face a quite stiff increase in pay rates during the coming season, as some of the players will be on contracts that include CL ‘bonuses’ that nobody realistically expected to see activated any time soon!

    3. BFR
      BFR May 16, 2024 at 8:29 pm . Reply

      I hope the board would be prepared to pay Martial not to come. Scraping the barrell.

  12. Sidforever
    Sidforever May 16, 2024 at 9:09 pm . Reply

    Just did some calculations on amortisation of contracts. In essence the fee for a player is paid over the length of the contract. Looks like we owe £71m this season for the players before we buy anyone.

    Villa Players and Amortisation

    Below has how many years of amortisation paid followed by annual payment Villa owe the previous club.
    Mings: Fully amortised
    Luiz: Fully amortised
    Konsa: Fully amortised
    Hause: Fully amortised

    Watkins: 4/5 years paid – £6.5m per year
    Martinez: Fully amortised
    Cash: 4/5 years paid – £3.2m per year

    Buendia: 3/5 years paid £6.5m per year
    Bailey: 3/4 years paid £7.5m per year
    Digne: 3/5 years paid £5m per year
    Chambers: Free

    Coutinho: 2/4 years paid £4.25m per year
    Olsen: 2/3 years paid £1m per year
    Carlos: 2/4 years paid £6.5m per year
    Duran: 2/5 years paid £3.4m per year
    Dendoncker: 2/4 years paid £3.25m per year
    Moreno: 2/4 years paid £3.25m per year
    Kamara: Free

    Diaby: 1/5 years paid £10m per year
    Torres: 1/5 years paid £6.5m per year
    Nedeljkovic: 0/6 years £1.3m per year
    Rogers: 0.5/6 years paid £2.5m per year
    Gauci: 0.5/5 years paid £0.4m per year
    Tilesman: Free
    Sousa: Free

    Total commitment 2024-25: £71m

    I really am interested on how much room there is to buy new players.

    1. Hitchens60
      Hitchens60 May 17, 2024 at 7:13 am . Reply

      The upside Sid is that our revenue will increase by at least £50m (CL) in 24/25 which helps.

      Nobody expects us to win the CL so the real challenge is to stay in the CL on a consistent basis so I think next seasons priority will be the same as this – finish in the top 4 again to keep the revenue increasing.

      With PSR or whatever it morphs into qualifying consistently for the CL is the only way to break the (so called) big six.

  13. Bum Bum
    Bum Bum May 16, 2024 at 9:34 pm . Reply

    We’re already comparing our next season to Newcastle this season with one glaring omission. Emery has had nearly 10 years (?) experience managing in Europe while Howe had zero. Until injuries and fatigue set in, playing twice a week was well manged by Emery. I’m not underestimating the task next year but I’d bet on us performing better than the barcodes simply because Emery is both a superior manager and vastly more experienced then Howe who’s a good manager but still young.

  14. Hitchens60
    Hitchens60 May 17, 2024 at 7:59 am . Reply

    Just watched Canadian Pete’s latest video.

    He made a couple of interesting points which link onto the rumoured concerns over Villa’s PSR position.

    He advocates selling Luiz and Duran for completely different reasons both of which make eminent sense and could raise around £100m in income.

    Luiz because we can probably maximise his value at this point in time and he will be an attractive proposition on his current pay structure and Duran because he’s high maintenance (Pete references three put downs by McGinn in three separate interviews) and isn’t an obvious partner for Watkins – which rather blows a hole in my previous comments about the player.

    I suspect we will see at least one of our high value players leave so this transfer window is going to be an interesting one.

    1. BFR
      BFR May 17, 2024 at 11:04 am . Reply

      Don’t sell Duran.

      1. Ardent Villain
        Ardent Villain May 17, 2024 at 11:22 am . Reply

        See rumours about Duran and Chelsea have appeared in the ‘papers’…

        Actually, while I’m coming to appreciate his ability / potential, there does appear to be some element of friction as far as he’s concerned. I get the feeling that he’s impatient but Emery wants him to develop in a rather longer time-frame.

        If someone made a ‘silly’ offer (aren’t they all?) I suspect that there’ll be a parting of the ways.

        1. Bum Bum
          Bum Bum May 17, 2024 at 12:45 pm . Reply

          Sports Editor: “Have you got any Premier League news for me”?
          Premier League Correspondent: “No. It’s the summer break”.
          Sports Editor: “It doesn’t matter. Just make something up. Anything”.
          Premier League Correspondent: “Right you are, Boss”.

        2. BFR
          BFR May 17, 2024 at 9:53 pm . Reply

          Guys, Duran is 20. In 5-6 years, he’ll be worth 100 million +
          Emery and his team must develop him, and that includes mentally, personality-wise; he has so much to offer Aston Villa in the next few years. Personally, I was delighted to hear Unai praise him after the Liverpool game. He said “he’s a fantastic player…we have to help him.” That says a lot.

          In contrast, and this is the tough bit, Ollie is 28. He may have peaked now. His value has, without doubt. I don’t want to lose any of our top players. But if the accountants say one has to go, it can’t be Duran.

          You know it makes sense, cold as it sounds. I sincerely hope nobody needs to go, but it would make no sense selling Duran and complete sense selling Ollie. But only, only assuming someone else can do what Ollie does. He’s been outstanding.

          I can’t believe I’ve just said that, but it is the reality of the situation.

          1. BFR
            BFR May 17, 2024 at 9:57 pm . Reply

            I have to add, talk off offloading top players after qualifying for the Champions League is utter madness. Surely that’s what happens when a team is relegated or fails to win promotion? We’ve been there, remember? Surely, we shouldn’t need to sell. Not need. If it’s selling because of strategy, like Fergie used to, fine. But we shouldn’t need to sell!

  15. little8
    little8 May 17, 2024 at 2:39 pm . Reply

    I’m still on a high and will be all summer its so great to be proud of our team again
    Would love a cup next season tho wouldn’t that be amazing
    Up the mighty villa woo hoo

  16. gerry
    gerry May 17, 2024 at 5:38 pm . Reply

    A painful decision regarding selling a high value player has to be faced to comply with Premier League Profit and Sustainability Rules. Might not be that difficult, for me anyway. Ollie would get the sum required and probably more that he is really worth. He has become very popular with the media and therefore very sellable. He can be replaced. He has been successful in a team that creates a lot of chances and to be honest he should have got even more that he has. I think he only “turns up” in about 1 in 3 games and thats what makes him replaceable. There I have said it and I await the onslaught….or not. This doesn’t mean that I am not grateful for the times when he has played out of his skin for our club.

    1. Holte
      Holte May 17, 2024 at 9:31 pm . Reply

      I wouldn’t want Watkins to go. We need to add in the striker department. I like Duran who at 20 years old can be phenomenal under Emery’s guidance.
      I think players like Sanson, Coutinho, Dendoncker, Hause, Olsen and Chambers will be moved on plus Lenglet and Zaniolo probably won’t be returning after loan spells. I would think Digne because of his wages could go plus I would sell Carlos if anyone wanted him.
      I hear talk of selling the likes of Watkins, Luiz or Ramsey but we need these plus add some extra quality to ensure we don’t end up with 12 – 13 players because of injuries. Getting into the Champions League plus the Adidas deal and new sponsorship surely boosts our chances of adding players rather than offloading them.

      1. Hitchens60
        Hitchens60 May 17, 2024 at 10:46 pm . Reply

        I think the PSR issue is likely to relate to the three years ending 30th June rather than the figures for next year which, as you say, should give us some ‘wiggle room’.

        We’ll soon know because if we have to sell a high profile player it would have to be before the end of June.

        Emery though has hinted at the above when he said ‘we may not have the budget so we need to be clever and clinical in our choices’

  17. Hitchens60
    Hitchens60 May 17, 2024 at 6:08 pm . Reply

    Tielemans, Cash & Zaniolo out for Sunday’s game alongside the usual long term absentees.

    We saw against Liverpool how Tielemans improves the team so he will be a big miss.

    Palace are on a roll and have some really talented quick players up front (Villa please take note!) and I can’t see Villa getting anything from this game which will probably mean it’s Emery’s longest non winning streak since he joined the club – not that it really matters – although to fans it always will.

    3-1 Palace for me

  18. Holte
    Holte May 17, 2024 at 9:18 pm . Reply

    Sunday’s game is probably about how many players have mentally got their flip flops on rather than boots. No player wants an injury before the Euros or holidays. I hope Watkins can get his elusive 20th goal although no Tielemans makes it harder to create chances. Could Duran start? Not many players who have figured this season available unfortunately. Put Chambers as a number 10 like against Pool? That would be a surprise for Palace. Sometime in the second half introduce the likes of Kellyman and Kesler.
    I tend to agree with you Hitch. They have a great front 3 who are high in confidence. Our defence meanwhile concedes every game so it seems highly likely they will on Sunday.

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