Date: 15th June 2019 at 7:00pm
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Last time, I had a look at the defensive position at B6. If we can bring in Tyrone Mings and Kortney Hause (as is widely expected), and perhaps add the relative experience of Matt Targett, we’ll be in a decent position.

But amid mounting speculation over the possible arrival of a new goalkeeper, I suggested that the mooted £25m for Jack Butland might be better spent elsewhere. Despite our owners’ vast wealth and spending power, we have to operate within the Premier League’s Profit & Sustainability regulations, so we can’t just spend, spend, spend.

So, looking further forward, we have already completed the permanent signing of Anwar El Ghazi after his highly successful loan last season, and we’ve added Jota from our noisy neighbours, getting rid of life-long Small Heath fan Gary Gardner for good measure. Even without seeing Jota in action, it’s probably safe to say we have got the best of that particular deal.

Having lost the likes of Glenn Whelan, Albert Adomah and Mile Jedinak already this summer, Birkir Bjarnason seems destined to leave as well, having failed to force his way into the squad on a regular basis since Dean Smith’s arrival. So the midfield is an area of weakness and needs recruitment.

By all accounts, highly-rated Leeds midfielder Kalvin Phillips has become a leading target, expected to command a fee in the region of £14m. He’s a player who fits the bill of young players of huge potential who will improve the squad.

Also gaining traction are suggestions that Villa are in pole position for Liverpool’s Ryan Kent, who spent last season on loan with Steven Gerrard at Rangers. A fee of £12m should be enough to secure the winger.

Were those two to join up, we’d be looking at a midfield of Jack Grealish, SJM, Conor Hourihane, Henri Lansbury, El Ghazi, Jota, André Green, Phillips and Kent. I’d say that covers pretty much all of the bases, at around a cost of around £35m.

That would leave plenty of money to splash the cash where it matters most – and where we are at our weakest – the strikers. Breaking news in the last couple of days is that we have signed 22-year-old Brazilian striker Wesley Moræs from Club Brugge in Belgium for a reported fee of £22m.

To be honest, I (and many others!) have never heard of him, but it is certainly a statement of intent from the club and to be fair, the last unheard-of striker we signed from the Belgian League didn’t turn out too badly for us, did he?

Along with Wesley, we’re left with Jonathan Kodjia, Keinan Davis and Scott Hogan as the senior strikers on our books, with Tammy Abraham currently unlikely to return.

Hogan has consistently misfired since his expensive capture from Brentford and the latter months of last season saw him farmed out on loan to Sheffield United. He’s keen to fight for his Villa future, but DS can’t go into a Premier League season on a wing and a prayer, so at least one new striker is surely incoming.

Media has predictably linked us with Brentford’s Neal Maupay, who has an eye-catching 37 goals (and 13 assists) in 85 games in his time at the Bees. Newcastle outcast Dwight Gayle is also available, as well as his West Brom partner in (ahem) crime Jay Rodriguez, possibly available for £5m after the Baggies failure to secure promotion.

But are these players real Premier League quality? Would we be better served testing Chelsea’s resolve with an offer for Tammy Abraham? There has been much debate on whether Abraham himself is good enough for the Premier League – he has shone in the Championship at Villa and Bristol City, but he had a less successful spell at Swansea, albeit in a relegation-bound team.

But the boy is only 21 and Chelsea appear reluctant to let him go permanently, so there’s got to be something in his locker, surely? He looked at home in a Villa shirt as he became the first player since Peter Withe to score 20 league goals and his team-mates at B6 love the guy, so why not make a cheeky bid?

Danny Welbeck and Daniel Sturridge are available on free transfers – despite their iffy injury records, would they be worth a shout? When fit, both are proven Premier League goal-scorers, so would it really be much of a risk to offer either (or both!) of them a two-year deal?

Sturridge or Welbeck, Wesley, Kodjia, Davis and (a hopefully revitalised) Hogan would certainly offer options up front and even allowing for the wage demands of Sturridge or Welbeck, the lack of a transfer fee may allow us to bring them in without breaking the bank. But if we’re going to spend, why not Tammy?

Comments and thoughts are most welcome (and encouraged!) and for a deeper dive, head over to the forum for more in-depth discussion and to add your voice to the debate.


Previous article by JPA – The shape of ‘Mings’ to come?

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7 Replies to “We’re Aston Villa, we’ll sign who we want!”

  • Sturridge and Welbeck would not come free, either one would not only demand high wages, probably in excess of £100k but, would also demand a multi million £ signing on fee. I don’t expect either would settle for a pay as you play deal and given their ages and injury records we wouldn’t be able to recoup any outlay. Neither player really fits in to the stated direction the club wishes to go in either, so I’m afraid its a big no-no from me.

    • “Sturridge and Welbeck would not come free, either one would not only demand high wages, probably in excess of £100k but, would also demand a multi million £ signing on fee.” – Agree, but there would be no transfer fee – every transfer includes wages and signing-on fee, but not having to pay the thick end of £20-30m as well means the wages and sign-on would be amortised over the contract at a much more favourable sum.

  • Steer, Kalinic/Hyland – Need a keeper
    Guilbert, Elmo, Chezzy, Bree, Hause, Taylor – Need a left back and Mings
    McGinn, Grealish, Hourihane, Tshibola, Lansbury, El Ghazi, Jota, Green – DM badly needed & Winger/Attacker
    Wesley, Kodjia, Hogan, Davis – Good Enough

    Sell: Kalinic or Hyland, Bjarny
    Loan out: O’Hare, Ramsey, Hep-Murphy, maybe Hogan

    £100m to spend (My guess at budget based on Fulham last year) – £3 Hause, £5 El Ghazi, £22 Wesley
    £70m left
    £14 – Mings
    £22 – Butland
    £12 – Targett
    £15 – Rongier
    £7 left for an attacker/winger

  • If you have seen Wesley play, he provides multiple opportunities for those playing off him. I feel we need a “for in the box” type player to pick up the little pay offs/ knock downs. Who this is I don’t know, thoughts?

  • Interesting views , have to say Meangene the forwards you’ve listed as ‘good enough’ only Wes and Davies are good enough, Kodjia hasn’t been the player he was since his injury and Hogan certainly isn’t the answer , as TA said we need a Fox in the box type player, in fact probably two as I see Davies as cover for Wes.
    The defence needs building , Hause and Ming’s + Left back, midfield also needs strengthening, hopefully we get Phillips.
    I’m sure our starting XI will be good but it’s our bench that’s also got to be good if we have injuries etc, the EPL is a lot faster, we will get time on the ball but will need to speed up our play sometimes , the squad we have needs some speed merchants , especially the forward line.

  • Butland’s addition to would provide us PL proven & national team stopper but would push Steer to improve his emerging talent in to compete and give Dean Smith some headaches hopefully.
    Maybe we could offer Stoke £15m + Kalinic (worked with Gardner).

  • We knew nothing about Jota or Wesley until the deals were done and the ink was practically drying on the contracts…lesson is……The newspapers haven’t got a clue who Villa are buying as they obviously are doing their business quietly behind the scenes and it’s likely we don’t buy any of the players we have been associated with except for the lads who were on loan last year ie, Hause and Mings. Tammy is staying at Chelsea, signing Wesley tells you that!
    I’m looking forward to the next breaking news alert and we have signed someone else no-one had guessed !!

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