Loadsamoney!!!! That’s Aston Villa right now. There seems no limit to our spending, with the ever-reliable [Eh, what? Ed.] Sky Sports suggesting we are so far the biggest spenders in the summer window, having splashed out over £90m (so far) as we rebuild the squad ahead of our first season back in the Premier League.
The figures quoted need to be taken with more than a small pinch of salt, but they make for sensational headlines and compelling clickbait in a football-free summer. In reality, no one outside the players’ representatives or the clubs know with absolute certainty the figures, options and clauses involved – probably even the players don’t know the full story.
There’s no denying that promoted clubs have to spend serious money in order to compete in the Premier League. But social media has been awash with rival fans taking the proverbial and likening our “out of control” spending to Fulham last summer, who supposedly spent £100m and turned in one of the most forgettable Premier League campaigns ever seen.
Not only is that likely wide of the mark, it also misses the point. In spending such vast sums last summer, Fulham adopted what seemed a scattergun approach and failed to keep together the core of the side which won promotion the previous season.
Not so for Villa. Forgetting the highly speculative sums quoted, what the club has done for the most part is simply tie down (or re-sign, if you want to be pedantic) players pivotal to our promotion who were merely on loan last season – Mings, Hause and El Ghazi.
"#AVFC seem to know what they need."
"It makes a lot more sense what they're doing."
— talkSPORT (@talkSPORT) July 12, 2019
Tammy Abraham has been replaced by Wesley, while Matt Targett and Ezri Konsa have arrived to strengthen the defence and Jota has come in to replace outgoing players surplus to requirements – hardly wholesale changes which mess with the balance of last season’s successful squad.
With the number of players released this summer, an already-thin squad is still in need of significant recruitment. It’s irrelevant how much the club has or hasn’t spent, or will spend, this summer. It’s clear we have the funds and the outlay pales into insignificance compared with how much relegation back to the Championship would cost. What counts is where we spend – in which areas we look to strengthen.
The arrivals in the January window suggest we should trust that the management team and coaching staff know what they are doing. Everyone who came in played their part, and many of those already here have improved to a huge degree since Dean Smith’s arrival back in October. It’s safe to say that gone are the weirdly fetishist days of accumulating right-backs (although rumours of interest in the Belgian Bjorn Engels hint that Dean Smith may have more of a penchant for centre-backs!).
Compare this summer to last and it’s obvious we are now operating on an unrecognisably different plane. Transfer fees continue to escalate at eye-watering and stomach-churning rates as every summer passes. What counts is who we are targeting (no pun intended) and their profiles – long gone are the days of Richards, Lescott and McCormack.
The club are finally building strong foundations for our future prosperity, both on and off the pitch. Perhaps it’s time to adopt ‘Loadsamoney!’ as the club’s motto on a permanent basis.
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