Reflections in a Transfer Window.

It’s that time of the year again when ITK’s appear from their winter hibernation and our ‘click bait’ inspired media reach for the regurgitate button on their computers.

Or maybe I’ve just become extremely cynical in my advancing years.

No matter how much we try not to, as fans we repeatedly fall for the rumours because we want to believe that our club is going to improve by signing quality players.

Often though we are left disappointed and that’s been particularly true at Villa over recent years where other clubs have prospered by picking up players on the cheap from us after we’ve paid far too much money – that is until Sawaris and Edens arrived on the scene. 

The transfer window officially opens on Wednesday but I suspect that the European Championship will mean that transfer activity is likely to be limited until mid July after the Euros finish. In this regard, Villa have been fast off the mark to secure a main target outbidding Arsenal in the process which in itself is another example of how our owners are changing the way in which the club acts and behaves.  I just wonder, though, how much influence Emi Martinez may have had in ‘helping’ Buendia to make up his mind? 

It’s a long time since we can reflect on a transfer window where, with perhaps the exception of Barkley on loan,  every player brought in last summer has not only contributed to the improvement in quality of the squad but have increased in value – even Watkins at £28m looks a cracking investment. The mark of a good business is knowing that it cannot stand still and we’ve seen continual improvements at management level as well – Johan Lange and Mark Harrison to name but two. Now we’re seeing changes in our scouting system which seems to be moving to a more targeted (analytic driven) approach to finding senior players whilst retaining a traditional approach to searching for young talent to add to the Academy – which is already demonstrating significant improvement in quality as demonstrated by winning the FA Youth Cup in such a commanding and exciting style. 

So the reflections are clear and offering, at last, the bright future promised in the past but not delivered.

Back to the upcoming transfer window.

Heaton, Elmo and Taylor have left the club having not been offered new contracts – although that might not have been the case with Heaton. Hourihane and Guilbert will be returning from their respective loan spells as will Kalinic and it remains to be seen whether they will leave the club during this window. Of the three it seems that Hourihane and Kalinic may well make their loans permanent.  Guilbert, I think will stay with the club and provide competition for Cash and with Kessler ready to step up will avoid Villa having to part with money for a right back.

Every member of the FA Youth Cup-winning team has been retained and quite rightly so. There are a number that will be challenging for a start in the first team including the aforementioned Kessler, Louie Barry, Carney Chukwuemeka and Aaron Ramsey. However the club may decide they need to go out on loan and have appointed Mile Jedinak as Loan Player Development Coach. 

Question marks remain around Wesley and Davis and I expect the latter to go out on loan to a Championship club. For Wesley, who did suffer a horrific knee injury, pre-season is going to be make or break but, having splashed out £22m on him, I can’t see Villa giving up on their investment just yet.

This transfer window is another one in which we want to see a continued progression. The first window back in the Premiership was about quantity, the second added some real quality but was also about adding to squad depth. I can’t see us messing with the team too much but rather looking to build on quality with three, maybe four, really good buys.

What do we need – an attacking, high quality, wide player was generally seen as a must and that’s been filled by Buendia – it should also finally squash the Milot Rashica rumours. A defensive midfielder and a centre-forward are also high on the must buy list, whilst a left back to provide competition / cover for Targett is a requirement.

Ward-Prowse would be an excellent buy for the defensive mid-field player although Southampton have made it clear he’s not available. However, Villa are a different proposition now and Southampton may not be able to fend off a big offer should it materialise. We’ve shown with Buendia that we are an attractive proposition and can now compete with the ‘big boys’ in the transfer market.

I like Abraham but is he too similar to Watkins? I note that Chris Wood has been mentioned. He’s more of an old fashioned centre forward, strong in the air and would surely compliment Watkins style of play. He is also likely to cost significantly less than Abraham, although at 29 he might not fit the Villa transfer model!

I will leave others to suggest a left back as I literally have no idea who we might turn to.

And to finish – a cautionary tale. It was reported that Milot Rashica had turned down a move to Villa last summer as ‘he didn’t want to be involved in a relegation battle’ preferring to stay with Werder Bremen (who had themselves only just avoided relegation from the Bundesliga in the 19-20 season). Ironic then, that he finds himself in a relegation battle with Bremen eventually relegated to Bundesliga 2! 

It’s all about choices – isn’t it?

 

 

 

15 Comments

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  1. Bill Evans
    Bill Evans June 8, 2021 at 1:48 am . Reply

    Great article – as usual. I am really psyched by what’s going at VP right now, as I’m sure 99% of the fans are. We’ve forged a solid base of talent not just on the pitch but off it. Still we have to be honest and admit that without the enormous wealth of our owners, it would never have happened. I’m thankful for that, of course, but feel some shame that our joy is decided by how much 2 rich dudes who are willing to dip into their pockets and speculate on our great club. It’s right to laud those small clubs like Brentford and Norwich who survive without such great resources.

    Talking of Norwich, what a great buy Buendia has to be. I don’t want to count my poultry but with him Grealish, Watkins and McGinn playing together I am literally salivating. I feel certain that Norwich had been forced to sell him, possibly something he’d negotiated when he stayed on last season. So we were lucky to be there at the right time and with another Argentine hero already embedded in the club, as further enticement.

    My Villa youth happened in the late 70’s, early 80’s and I was one of the lucky few who remember the pride and utter ecstasy of first winning the league and then the European cup a year later. Can we do it again, I constantly ask myself. Those were dream times but oh very very different.

    I’ve been listening to the interviews of Brian Little and John Gregory by Mat Kendrick recently – well worth a listen. They reminded me of how the business has changed. Now with all the money and thirst for ever better entertainment, it’s a different game, we’ll all agree. It’s affected the rules, changed the dynamics and arguably led to more frustration. Nevertheless, we can all see how the athleticism and skill of the players has never been better and the goals keep flying in.

    Looking forward to next season.

    UTV

  2. Bill Pearson..
    Bill Pearson.. June 8, 2021 at 6:43 am . Reply

    Hitch, my very thoughts on the previous post, what now on the youngsters who are definitely close to fame in the game. I for one would love to see our home grown players in our team and feel proud to know we developed them. It’s great to have money backing up the club but I see the two owners wanting more from the club, they didn’t get their money by buying, development is the key, plus may l add winning honours and this is what they are doing this season. We are definitely on the move to being a threat to the so called top six and getting back to the club that made the football league what it is.. Villa is Back in the big time again. Good post Hitch.

    1. Bum Bum
      Bum Bum June 8, 2021 at 9:34 pm . Reply

      I missed the memo, has Buendia signed????!!!!

      1. Hitchens60
        Hitchens60 June 8, 2021 at 10:00 pm . Reply

        No, he hasn’t signed and can’t until tomorrow, at the earliest, when the transfer window officially opens, but Norwich and Villa have jointly issued a statement confirming the deal has been done subject to a final medical.

        1. Bum Bum
          Bum Bum June 8, 2021 at 10:33 pm . Reply

          That’s a cracking start to the window!!!

  3. Tom
    Tom June 9, 2021 at 8:14 am . Reply

    Martinez taken of on stretcher in international. Anyone know anymore??

    1. Hitchens60
      Hitchens60 June 9, 2021 at 10:20 am . Reply

      I’ve done a bit of searching and I think he’s fine. Got knocked out by an accidental collision with attackers elbow and was stretchered off as a precaution which is correct as a head injury.

      Was talking to team mates and latest report I’ve read is he’s OK and no further tests / examinations are planned.

      Phew ……..

  4. Holte
    Holte June 9, 2021 at 1:33 pm . Reply

    First of all, best wishes to Badger and i hope that the transfer window continues to keep your spirits up.

    Our owners are doing a cracking job so far and my only gripe as mentioned already by BFR was the missed opportunity to re-develop the North Stand and increase capacity. Admittedly i’m guessing it takes a long time to get to the building stage from planning etc but….

    The most important thing for me is holding onto Grealish and keeping him fit for the season ahead. Lots of rumours flying around about him and Kane joining Citeh. I always worry about our players joining up with the elite 6 during international breaks and being tempted away. The big thing is our owners financial clout and selling their ambitions to potential signings and our current crop of top names. Until we get into Europe we are at risk of being a feeder club regardless of our owners wealth. Next season will be pivotal to keeping our star names and we must become a top 6 side. That’s big pressure for Dean Smith but with managerial changes at Spurs and Everton, we can leap frog them plus Leeds, Arsenal and West Ham should be catchable too.

    1. Hitchens60
      Hitchens60 June 9, 2021 at 2:24 pm . Reply

      Holte, I deliberately kept away from the JG debate in my article.

      FWIW I tend to think that JG will stay for another season to see whether Villa can actually break into Europe. He loves playing football and won’t be happy sat on the bench. He loves Villa and being captain and playing for them in Europe must be an ambition of his. He’s broken into the England side and is likely to be playing International football for years – fitness permitting.

      On the downside he wants to win trophies and it’s pretty evident that a move to City would give him the greatest chance of this at present. But he has more than enough years ahead of him – he doesn’t need to move now.

      Our owners will be as difficult as Levy if it comes to dealing with offer(s) for JG. They don’t need the money and they don’t want to sell him.

      I can’t see any team getting near the fee level that’s been bandied about in the media – £100 to £130million- but be sure that’s what they’ll be looking for should the worst come to pass.

  5. Guest
    Guest June 9, 2021 at 8:17 pm . Reply

    Josh King linked, don’t rate him at all.

    1. Hitchens60
      Hitchens60 June 9, 2021 at 8:31 pm . Reply

      Isn’t that a – push the regurgitate button – link?

  6. Big Fat Ron
    Big Fat Ron June 10, 2021 at 8:55 pm . Reply

    Buendia’s stats are magnificent: first in the division for assists, chances created, and completed passes in the final third. Well done the board!

    https://www.skysports.com/football/news/11677/12321904/aston-villa-sign-emiliano-buendia-on-five-year-deal-for-club-record-transfer-fee

  7. Big Fat Ron
    Big Fat Ron June 10, 2021 at 8:57 pm . Reply

    “Buendia topped the charts for chances created (122), assists (16) and final-third passes completed (735) in the Championship last season, but for those doubting his ability to step up a division, his stats in Norwich’s Premier League campaign of 2019/20 are also telling. Despite their relegation, Buendia was fourth for chances created (83), behind Kevin De Bruyne, Grealish and Trent Alexander-Arnold.”

    WOW.

    1. Big Fat Ron
      Big Fat Ron June 10, 2021 at 8:58 pm . Reply

      Add a world class striker to that and Grealish, and you’re cooking on something significantly more potent than gas!

  8. Hitchens60
    Hitchens60 June 13, 2021 at 12:53 pm . Reply

    Grealish on the bench and Trippier at left back and Sterling starts!

    Southgate at his most bafflingly best!

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