Kortney Hause (def) Wolves – loan made permanent; Anwar El Ghazi (mid) Lille – loan made permanent; Tom Heaton (gk) Burnley; Bjorn Engels (def) Reims; Ezri Konsa (def) Brentford; Tyrone Mings (def) Bournemouth; Douglas Luiz (mid) Man City; Marvelous Nakamba (mid) Club Brugge; Trezeguet (mid) Kasimpasa; Jota (mid) Birmingham City; Wesley (att) Club Brugge;
Alan Hutton (r) (def) released; Mile Jedinak (r) (mid) released; Albert Adomah (r) (att) Nottingham Forest; Ritchie De Laet (sp) (def) Antwerp; Tommy Elphick (sp) (def) Huddersfield; Gary Gardner (sp) (mid) Birmingham City; Andre Green (sp) (mid) Preston NE – on loan; Glenn Whelan (sp) (mid) released; Micah Richards (def) released; Mark Bunn (gk) released; Ross McCormack (att) released; Rushian Hepburn-Murphy (att) Tranmere – on loan;
After making the play-offs thanks to a last-gasp push, then winning them to gain promotion, Aston Villa went on a spending spree this summer. Appointed only in late spring coach Dean Smith was obviously not satisfied with the squad he inherited and he revamped the entire team this off season.
Already spent £130million and counting, which makes Villa the highest spenders ever for a newly promoted team. Also this bold statement brings pressure as the expectations suddenly got high.
The arrival of 12 new players means that Villa will have a very different look this season, and not many of those that helped for the promotion last term seem likely to see much playing time in the top flight.
Signing experienced goalkeeper Heaton and 4 new centre-backs, plus a highly rated left-back makes it clear that Smith wants much better defensive stability.
It is yet to be seen what look Villa will have as the season starts, with the gaffer mixing 5 different formations in pre-season and constantly testing different things. What seems likely is to see the Villains using 5 at the back against the Big 6.
Naturally the early weeks are expected to be difficult as all the new faces would need time to build synchrony and start playing as a unit. The other thing concerning some pundits is that on all their spending Villa didn’t sign a big star, and all the players that arrived are solid, but far from anything more.
Heavy investment ups the expectations, but simply avoiding immediate relegation will be enough to rate the season as a success.