Paul Lambert was recently sacked but that doesn’t mean that we should ignore that fact that Lambert had over seen 6 transfer markets. With that Villa brought in an astounding 25 players during that period of time, not all players were permanent transfers. But on a limited budget, here are Lambert’s top 5 most expensive signings as Aston Villa manager.
5. Carles Gil = Valencia for £3.2 million
Carles Gil was the answer for the big question that had ravaged Aston Villa for two years. The need for a creative attacking midfielder. When Gil arrived most people knew little about him, a common trend for any Lambert transfer. Yet despite that, Gil impressed largely during the short period of time. Scoring 1 goal against Bournemouth in the FA Cup and assisting Okore against Chelsea in the Premier League. Gil looks like a promising player at the age of 22 and it sure looks as though money has been well spent.
4. Jores Okore = FC Nordsjaelland for £4 million
Unlike Gil, football fanatics around the world knew Okore for his excellent displays during FC Nordsjaelland Champions League campaign. He had loads of admires, particularly after the game against Chelsea. In-fact he turned down a move to Chelsea in favour of more playing time. Unfortunately, Okore ruptured anterior cruciate during a Premier League game against Newcastle, he was ruled out for the rest of the season. However, this season Okore has featured 17 times for Villa (more than Vlaar, Senderos and Baker) scored against Chelsea and is forming an excellent defensive pairing with Clark. At the age of 22 there is loads of room for improvement, but all in all, Okore has been an excellent signing for Villa.
3. Carlos Sanchez = Elche for £4.5 million
The oldest player on the list was brought in after an excellent World Cup campaign with Colombia. The 29 year old defensive midfielder had a poor start in the Premier League, often giving the ball away and not looking composed at all. But after adapting to the pace of the Premier League, Sanchez has down a good job protecting the back 4. In some games, Sanchez appeared to be Villa’s most creative player! This season he has made 23 appearances (on par with Cleverly and Westwood) and produced a single assist in the FA Cup. Is there more to come from Sanchez in the coming years? Sure looks like it.
2. Libor Kozak = Lazio for £7 million
The forgotten man. Kozak came in as a transfer deadline day deal from Lazio and boy was a surprise. Admittedly not many people knew him, despite the fact he was Europa Leagues top scorer for Lazio in the 2012-13 season. Arguably, Kozak had a solid start in the Aston Villa shirt. He had scored 4 goals in 15 appearances before Clark broke his leg in a training ground incident, he hasn’t featured since January. Good news is on the horizon though, with Kozak training with the squad again it looks as though he may return before the end of the season. Which might bring some relief as Benteke hasn’t been scoring goals as of yet. Still, in my book Kozak is yet to repay that giant £7 million transfer price tag, but he still has time.
1. Christian Benteke = Genk for £7 million
The same price tag as Kozak, yet has scored 33 more goals. Benteke burst into the scene of English football in his debut season at the club. Scoring 23 goals in 39 appearances he had become an instant fan favourite. Last season however was a little less successful, injury had limited the Belg to just 11 goals in 28 games and this season is a season to forget with a mare 3 goals. No one will forget Benteke’s u-turn to a transfer request, which resulted in a new 4-year deal. But regardless of that, Benteke has been a fantastic signing for Villa and arguably, Lambert’s best. It’s unknown how long Benteke will be staying at the club. But what most fans probably want now more than anything else, is a goal scoring run that will help Villa beat the drop this season.