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. BFR
    BFR May 21, 2024 at 9:33 am . Reply

    76 PL goals in a season is a new club record. Congratulations to all concerned – not easily done. It probably should have been comfortably over 80, just when I think of how many chances Diaby missed, but who’s counting?

    My concern is what happened to the defence after the City and Arenal games in December. After Christmas, it completely went to sh** after being the best in the league. That needs looking at and addressing.

    1. Bum Bum
      Bum Bum May 21, 2024 at 12:28 pm . Reply

      Pau hasn’t looked the same since he came back from injury. Playing through the pain barrier???

      I see no Ollie Watkins in Horseface’s squad. I really have no love for his England team. I used to get so excited about the WC and Euros…Sad really.

      1. 1874 was a good year
        1874 was a good year May 21, 2024 at 2:03 pm . Reply

        Both Watkins and Konsa are in the squad of 30. I see that Rashford, Sterling and Henderson are out, good news if you’re an England fan.

  2. Bum Bum
    Bum Bum May 21, 2024 at 2:03 pm . Reply

    Watkins and Konsa included for Germany! Congratulations lads!!!

    1. Hitchens60
      Hitchens60 May 21, 2024 at 4:07 pm . Reply

      Knowing Mr. Southgate, he has Konsa lined up for the left back position 🙂

  3. Sidforever
    Sidforever May 22, 2024 at 11:05 am . Reply

    I note press speculation has Villa close to a deal for 32 year old left back Marcos Acuna.

    If true I could not believe Villa want 3 left backs aged between 30-32. Plus they have the young lad Sousa.

    It would mean Digne being sold as he is on £125k per week and this would help with the financial limits on us.

    Time will tell.

    1. Bum Bum
      Bum Bum May 22, 2024 at 3:59 pm . Reply

      Digne has been great this season. Him going would be a bummer.

      1. Ardent Villain
        Ardent Villain May 22, 2024 at 6:36 pm . Reply

        Agree completely. He’s one of the most under-rated players in the squad, IMO

  4. Badger123
    Badger123 May 22, 2024 at 10:19 pm . Reply

    Now here’s a question;
    What’s Duran worth?
    He’s proven he can score so what we paid has gone out the window.
    £20, 30, 40 million?
    Strikers are hard to find.

    I suspect Emery is not keen on Duran as a personality and might want rid.
    His agent seems to be pushing for a deal too;

    Personally, I think if we’re willing to let him go, it will be because Emery has good reasons.

    1. BFR
      BFR May 23, 2024 at 6:28 am . Reply

      If you sell him for 40 mil, can you get something at least as good for the same money? My answer would be ‘probably not.’ 60 million, minimum. And we might still live to regret it. It could be another De Bruyne or Salah when they were at Chelsea. Unlimited potential waiting to be unlocked. His power and pace reminds me of Dalian, while his temperament reminds me of Ian Wright, and he wasn’t bad, was he? He’s young and immature – surely, the edges can be smoothed over?

    2. Hitchens60
      Hitchens60 May 23, 2024 at 7:17 am . Reply

      The decision, it seems to me, rests with our FFP / PSR position – we cannot breach either and risk suspension from Europe.

      We need to strengthen the squad and it may be necessary to sell players or use players in exchange deals to do so.

      If that’s the case (and I don’t mean the odd few million for a ‘Dendonker’) who does Emery decide can go? On that basis I feel Duran is ideal as a makeweight where, I think we would get best value for him.

      So, in an ideal world, I’d keep him but I agree with Badger, from comments made I don’t think Emery wants him.

      1. BFR
        BFR May 23, 2024 at 9:12 am . Reply

        His finishing is arguably better than Watkins’. And I’ll bet his goals per minutes ratio is better, too, or at least as good at 6 years younger. Does anyone have that bit of data?

        1. Hitchens60
          Hitchens60 May 23, 2024 at 11:50 am . Reply

          91 minutes per goal with an average appearance time of 20mins per game (EPL)

          All his (EPL) goals have come as a substitute – his performances when starting have been less impressive.

          Sorry BFR, I don’t get the (implied) criticism of Watkins – 19 goals and 13 assists makes him the best all round striker in the EPL and when you consider that 19 goals include zero penalties. I woukd like to see a comparison with Haarland, Foden, Solanke etc. if you take out their penalty goals – anybody have that data?

          1. BFR
            BFR May 23, 2024 at 9:05 pm . Reply

            Hitch, no criticism whatsoever of Watkins implied or meant; he is indeed up there with the best. I am merely trying to make a case for not selling Duran, as I believe it would be a mistake. He is one of two strikers we have. Nowhere near enough if we want to progress next season. We need to add at least one more striker. If we sell him, we need two; where’s the sense in that?

          2. BFR
            BFR May 23, 2024 at 9:07 pm . Reply

            So he basically averages a goal per match, at a raw 22. I reinforce that I’m not trying to undervalue Watkins, rather emphasise Duran’s value by comparing him with one of the best: Watkins.

            1. Hitchens60
              Hitchens60 May 23, 2024 at 9:30 pm . Reply

              Fair enough BFR

            2. BFR
              BFR May 24, 2024 at 10:33 am . Reply

              Correction: he’s only 20! Ollie’s peaked at 28. Do not sell this guy, not yet, anyway!

  5. Sidforever
    Sidforever May 23, 2024 at 8:25 pm . Reply

    Interesting article appearing via TBR. NSWE are looking to expand their portfolio of clubs in the Villa multi club model. Apparently they are looking at buying Brazilian Club Vasco de Gamo.

    Now as luck would have it, Vasco de Gamo are apparently interested in signing Phillipe Coutinho, where he started out. Is this a coincident? I do not know the rules of Brazilian financial restrictions but could NSWE buy the club and via investment put enough money into the club to take Coutinho off Villa’s pay roll? This would circumvent Villa taking a big loss on Coutinho and passing it onto Vasco de Gamo, where through their investment it would be a loss they take – but additional investment into the club on purchase off sets the loss. They sold Villa Park to themselves to avoid FFP problems when we got promoted. This is smart business. It would be a great way of selling Coutinho for £6-7m and off loading his £125k salary per week.

    The new financial rules to support clubs were brought in to protect the established clubs at the top of the tree. I really hope that NSWE who are incredibly sharp men can legitimately out manoeuvre these restrictions to keep us pinned down and allow us to beat the rigged system.

    1. BFR
      BFR May 23, 2024 at 9:09 pm . Reply

      Rigged, indeed.

    2. Hitchens60
      Hitchens60 May 23, 2024 at 9:29 pm . Reply

      No different to clubs like Citeh and the Barcodes and, no doubt, a few others

  6. Badger123
    Badger123 May 23, 2024 at 9:18 pm . Reply

    I like your style Sid. I have a sneaky feeling that’s exactly what will happen.
    It’s dead shifty really and not the way I believe things should happen, but hey Citeh and Chelsea have got away with dodgy stuff for years, so anything our owners can do to help us catch up is fine by me.

    Meanwhile, Hitch, Yahoo was my friend and you’re right, it’s very close;

    Premier League top scorers without penalties

    Erling Haaland 20
    Ollie Watkins 19
    Phil Foden 19
    Dominic Solanke 17
    Jarrod Bowen 16
    Alexander Isak 16
    Son Heung-min 15
    Chris Wood 14
    Jean-Philippe Mateta 14
    Nicolas Jackson 14

    1. Hitchens60
      Hitchens60 May 23, 2024 at 9:32 pm . Reply

      Thanks Badger – I think that’s a fairer comparison.

  7. Badger123
    Badger123 May 24, 2024 at 10:18 pm . Reply

    IF this is true, we need to get shot of Duran if the price is right.
    He obviously doesn’t have the patience to get experience slowly and steadily and is doing himself no favours in creeping up to Chelsea.
    Personally, I hope he goes and plays similar to Chuky. Sparingly.
    I just don’t feel he’s adding to the good air around the place.
    The whole article is worth reading;

    “Now the Colombian’s agent, Jonathan Herrera has taken to Caracol Radio (22 May) to share his player’s desire to play more and potentially leave Villa Park.

    He said: “We know he wants to play, he wants to go out & play. We are going to see. Now the market is opening up, the club is looking at some options & so are we. The interest has always been there (from Chelsea). Let’s see how we can handle it & make sure Aston Villa are ready.”

    1. Hitchens60
      Hitchens60 May 25, 2024 at 6:56 am . Reply

      Badger, Duran is becoming a real marmite character.

      Personally, if we could get Gallagher in part exchange, I’d pay for the taxi myself. This, I admit, is a massive U turn for me but, no matter how talented the guy is or how good he may become he shows all the traits of being a disruptive and very self centred character. Even the comments of his agent are rather disrespectful imho.

      McGinn and Emery have made comments that suggest he may be unmanageable and that, you cannot have, in a top club squad.

      Chaotic Chelsea would be a perfect destination.

      1. BFR
        BFR May 25, 2024 at 3:46 pm . Reply

        I’ve just looked up McGinn’s comments about Duran after the Liverpool match. It’s worth reading Unai’s comments also, in order to be fair and balanced. He suggests there’s no limit and explicitly states “I believe in him.” He also mentions that he needs help as a young person. Without knowing how ‘disruptive’ he is, and that’s a very broad and general term, it’s unfair to say get rid because he’s disruptive.

        1. Badger123
          Badger123 May 26, 2024 at 1:24 am . Reply

          I think you have to read between the lines, BFR. All young persons need help, or more accurately advice and guidance etc, but this hints at much more to me.

          Don’t get me wrong, I’d love him to come good for us and can understand his desire to play more, but many young players go through exactly the same and just get on with it.
          How long did it take Ramsay to become established, for example? Yet he just kept his head down and proved himself. It’s probably given him a better attitude too.

          Whereas the opposite seems to be true with Duran.
          Practically whoring yourself to another club is without doubt totally disrespectful to Villa and it seems his agent is advising him poorly.
          IF it’s true, he needs to go for that reason alone, imo.

  8. Bill Pearson
    Bill Pearson May 25, 2024 at 4:48 pm . Reply

    Not Villa lads but interesting to me , Pep lost City that game because he thought he knew best . Football a funny old game as the famous Jimmy Greaves used to say . This now will make Grealish look so silly over all his antics on and off the pitch .He will definitely move now . Germany here he goes .I hope . Wow a goal back .

    1. Bum Bum
      Bum Bum May 25, 2024 at 6:12 pm . Reply

      What’s Jack been up to, Bill?

  9. Badger123
    Badger123 May 26, 2024 at 1:29 am . Reply

    I think Bill’s on about his history generally.
    Agreed Bill, it would seem that him not even coming off the bench means he’s a cert to be sold. I’d take him for around £30-40 million, but would he prove himself to be a true Villan and accept our wage structure? I very much doubt it. Which begs the question “who could afford him now?”.

    1. The Ron Saunders Stand
      The Ron Saunders Stand May 26, 2024 at 12:33 pm . Reply

      Ain’t the rumours he’s off with to join Mr Kompany at Bayern?

      1. Hitchens60
        Hitchens60 May 26, 2024 at 3:46 pm . Reply

        Yep RSS.

        It would be interesting to see a straw poll of Villa vans about whether or not we’d want to see Jack back at VP.

        For me it would be a no.

        He’s a bit of a risk off the field as well as on it. Pep has all but destroyed the free spirit that made him so unpredictable and exciting to watch. I think Germany and Kompany would be the best destination for him right now.

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