It’s been an interesting old summer at Aston Villa.
We’ve seen the arrivals of Emi Buendia, Ashley Young, Leon Bailey and a very unexpected Danny Ings, but optimism and hope for the coming 2021/22 Premier League campaign has been somewhat offset by the £100million departure of Jack Grealish.
"We are looking forward to it." 🙌
Dean Smith previews the 𝟮𝟬𝟮𝟭/𝟮𝟮 season with just over a week to go until our Premier League opener. 🗣️
— Aston Villa (@AVFCOfficial) August 6, 2021
What’s done is done and all that matters now is how we further strengthen the group to ensure we pivot away from the ‘get it to Jack’ approach we had, and we now better round ourselves and our attacking play out, using the clear talent we have when on the front foot.
Ings, Watkins, Bertie, Buendia, Ash, El Ghazi, and a more unknown Bailey, are quite an interesting prospect moving forward if we can directly tap into their talents and play to their strengths – we’ll certainly be less predictable but the obvious concern for fans is will it click, and how long will it take to click?
As we get ever closer to the curtain raiser against Watford a week today – Graham Taylor will be rightly remembered by all – head coach Dean Smith has looked back at the summer, our arrivals including a new set piece coach and he knows despite the departure of ‘he who shall not be named more than once in an article by me’, we have to be aiming high and looking to improve further on last years eleventh placed finish.
“Our job now is to progress the football club again. It will be tough, we know that. The clubs that we have to go and pass now are clubs that have been established in the top 10, like Everton, Arsenal, Tottenham and Leicester, teams like that. It becomes a really hard job but it’s one that’s always been part of our project. We finished 11th last season and we probably felt we were one or two places better than that. We left too many points out there in the back end of the season. Our aim is certainly to improve on 11th place and to try and get into Europe.”
Vital Villa’s Where Will We Finish Forum Thread
Smith is clearly in line with what most fans expect now in terms of at least battling for the European places, even if we don’t quite make it this year – and the European aim is our next obvious step. But we need last years crop to step up again and there will be greater pressure on our new captures to perform straight away – but some patience will again be needed.
Whilst there’s obvious disappointment at losing the ‘nameless’, Smith knows it’s a good fee and we aren’t on that level next, so again the aim is to invest those funds wisely to really boost the quality and depth of the squad so we can get to that level.
“It’s a huge disappointment that Jack moves on. We want to keep our best players, but unfortunately Jack’s had a really tough decision to make. Unfortunately we can’t provide European football for Jack at the moment. He’s going into his 26th year of his life and he understands it’s a short career and he wants to go and play at the top level. He’s had a taste of it at the Euros. But we move on. I’m not looking to replace Jack because I don’t think you can. He’s such a unique player and a unique character. My job is to use the funds to actually make us a better team by bringing in more quality players and give us more depth as a team and not be as reliant on one player.”
Reliant being the key word there and that has to change this season.
Full ten minute video below: