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?

 

 

 

57 Comments

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  1. Hitchens60
    Hitchens60 June 16, 2021 at 9:50 pm .

    Some weird stuff on Sky Transfer Centre.

    Villa have bid for Emile Smith Rowe (20) rejected by Arsenal. Attacker in his break out year with a contract that runs to 2023. Arsenal said to not being prepared to entertain bids – over to Martinez and Buendia 🙂

    It seems we are also in discussion with Ashley Young to return on a one year contract and, it’s reported, he’s ‘leaning towards the Villa’. As a back up to Targett – might not be such a bad call,

  2. Big Fat Ron
    Big Fat Ron June 17, 2021 at 10:10 am .

    Young would be an excellent signing, for so many reasons, the biggest one being he is a WINNER. You need winners in the dressing room. Age is not a barrier. He will be excellent back up in all the wide positions. No brainer, get it done. Strength in depth is what it’s about now. I’ve long been an advocate of having 2-3 older players in the squad if they’re high-calibre; young players need that guidance and experience. Roll on the new season!

    1. Hitchens60
      Hitchens60 June 17, 2021 at 4:27 pm .

      BFR – Sky confirmed Young will join Villa on a free subject to medical. Personal terms agreed on a 12 month contract with an option for a further 12 months.

      Will join on 1st July when his contract withInter ends.

      I do think this is a clever bit of business. Young can play wide left or as a number 3.

      1. Big Fat Ron
        Big Fat Ron June 17, 2021 at 11:11 pm .

        Hitch, I must have read Young’s mind. I quote: “I’ve still got that winning mentality, that winners’ attitude, that desire and hunger to go and win.”

        A brilliant signing – well done the board again; they kept that one quiet!

        I have several Big Ron soundbites about winners:
        On signing Ray Houghton: “yeh, well he’s a winner…”
        On his team winning the League Cup: “they’re not nearly men; they’re winners.”
        On comparing his ’92 team to the then title favourites, Arsenal: “what they have got is they know about winning things…”

        I get the feeling that our magnificent football club is ready to win things again. It won’t be easy, but as Martin Luther once said: “NOW is the time!”

        UTV

        1. Bum Bum
          Bum Bum June 18, 2021 at 5:46 pm .

          Martin Luther? The German Protestant reformer?

          I hope Young has worked out how to use the privacy function on his webcam!!!!

          An astute signing! If Inter wanted to extend his contract then he must be in good shape still!

          1. Big Fat Ron
            Big Fat Ron June 18, 2021 at 10:54 pm .

            The other Martin Luther lol Bum Bum

            Seriously though, very impressed with the way our board go about their business.

  3. Hitchens60
    Hitchens60 June 17, 2021 at 4:32 pm .

    Just to add a couple of things to Young re-joining Villa.

    He was offered another year by Inter but wants to return to the UK for family reasons. He also (or his agent did) held talks with Watford and Burnley both keen on his signature.

    Sergio Ramos next – remember you heard it here first 🙂

  4. Hitchens60
    Hitchens60 June 17, 2021 at 8:51 pm .

    Villa confirm signing of Ashley Young

  5. Bill Pearson..
    Bill Pearson.. June 18, 2021 at 6:09 pm .

    Bjorn Engels to Royal Antwerp subject to medicle this weekend. Never really knew why he never settled at Villa, I liked him .

    1. Big Fat Ron
      Big Fat Ron June 18, 2021 at 10:52 pm .

      Axel Tuanzebe as an upgrade, Bill?

    2. Hitchens60
      Hitchens60 June 20, 2021 at 7:15 am .

      Bill, he looked decent initially but then seemed to be continually injured and was overtaken by Konsa and Hause. Also seemed to lack pace.

      Good luck to him.

  6. Bum Bum
    Bum Bum June 18, 2021 at 6:22 pm .

    Anyone see Grealish singing on the BBC earlier? Very funny…!

  7. Hitchens60
    Hitchens60 June 18, 2021 at 8:46 pm .

    Anyone watching the boring game at Wembley?

    Oh for some excitement.

    Perhaps Grealish might come on?

    Find myself supporting Scotlaand

  8. Hitchens 60
    Hitchens 60 June 18, 2021 at 9:54 pm .

    Accepting I’m biased my views that Southgate is clueless hasn’t changed

    When will those that run English football appoint a manager that can actually produce a national team worth following?

    The answer, of course, is never – with every due,respect to Bobby Robson.

    1. Big Fat Ron
      Big Fat Ron June 18, 2021 at 10:51 pm .

      …and Terry Venables, Hitch!

      Southgate seems to have lost his way – a shame, as I thought he was doing well a few years ago. Maybe the semi-final was his peak. He needs to be braver. ‘Take the handbrake off’ is the metaphor of choice these days…

  9. Bill Pearson..
    Bill Pearson.. June 19, 2021 at 8:59 pm .

    I’m reading Southgate saying he makes decisions on who he thinks plays better in their positions, I wonder why he withdrew Kane and put Rashford on? puts Grealish on the left and all the game was played on the right!!, he also intermated there will be a few changes on Tuesday and possibility Grealish will start. Hate to say that I was right in saying Southgate speaks dribble every time he opens his mouth, never ever thought from day one he was the man for the England job and now I’m proved right up till now. The last two games have made England look poor and he’s the dope that’s made it that way.

  10. Steve
    Steve June 20, 2021 at 10:42 am .

    In my opinion southgate hasn’t got a scooby doo. The only good thing he did at the beginning was get rid of the old guard and give the younger players a chance. In the early days those young players were playing as coached by their club managers. Southgate has now moulded them into his style of play. Negative.
    The WC semi will go down in history as a great achievement but all the stars aligned for that to happen. We lost to belgium twice and croatia and needed penalties to get past columbia. In other words we didn’t beat anybody of note. Southgate is an FA yes boy.
    Ironically Grealish the one player he blatantly has tried to leave out for the last few seasons may be the one who saves him his job.

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