Aston Villa sporting director Johan Lange was a busy man throughout the summer transfer window in 2022 as he made a number of moves to bolster the squad.
The Villans chief signed Leander Dendoncker, Philippe Coutinho, Diego Carlos, Boubacar Kamara, Robin Olsen, Ludwig Augustinsson, and Jan Bednarek to improve then-manager Steven Gerrard’s options heading into the 2022/23 Premier League campaign.
However, the former Liverpool midfielder was not able to make the most of the talent at his disposal and was relieved of his duties before the break for the 2022 World Cup, with Spanish coach Unai Emery replacing him in the dugout.
Whilst these results suggest that Emery can get more out of the side than Gerrard, who won one of his last six top-flight matches, Lange may still feel like he could have done a better job in the summer in terms of the players he failed to bring in.
It was recently reported by Football Insider that Villa turned down the opportunity to sign defensive midfielder Joao Palhinha from Sporting for a fee in the region of £17m, with Premier League rivals Fulham going on to snap him up instead.
This has turned out to be a big blunder from the club’s sporting director as the Portuguese international has enjoyed a fantastic start to life in England.
The 27-year-old has averaged a SofaScore rating of 7.09 across 14 starts in the top-flight for Marco Silva’s side this season as he has delivered consistently impressive displays in the middle of the park for the newly-promoted outfit.
Statman Dave described him as an “engine” and his impressive statistics back that up as he has made an eye-catching 5.5 tackles and interceptions per match for Fulham. He has won 65% of his individual duels and this shows that he has been effective in his defending, by dominating opposition players from a physical perspective.
Meanwhile, Kamara’s 3.7 tackles and interceptions per game lead the way for Villa in the Premier League. The Frenchman, however, has only won 53% of his battles and averaged a Sofascore rating of 6.87.
Therefore, Palhinha – who has been dubbed “outstanding” by reporter Steve Wilson – has outperformed the current Villans midfielder this season, with his average level of performance and his defensive efficiency dwarfing Kamara’s.
This shows that Lange committed a big howler in the summer by opting to swerve a swoop to sign the Portuguese international, as his statistics for Fulham indicate that he would have been a phenomenal signing for the club by being an upgrade on what they currently have in that position.