Amid all the impressive signings that Aston Villa have made over these past couple of summers, arguably their best bit of business remains their deal to sign John McGinn.
Signed for a reported £2m by Steve Bruce back in the summer of 2018, Villa’s signing of the Scotland international was made all the more sweeter by the fact they did it right under the noses of Celtic, who appeared to be in pole position to land him from Hibernian.
Speaking after his signing, McGinn himself said: “It’s been a crazy few days, but I sat in the stand at Villa Park and I could imagine myself playing out there. It felt right,” he said.
“It’s a Premier League club and deserves to be there. Everyone in the Championship has that aim. For some of them, it’s a fantasy, but here there is a real ambition that it could happen. We’re under no illusions, but the way the club is going is something that’s great to be a part of.”
A mainstay of Dean Smith’s side in the Premier League, the 26-year-old enjoyed a fine campaign last season, with Sky Sports and Match of the Day pundit Micah Richards waxing lyrical about him.
He said: “This season he’s been absolutely incredible, back to the John McGinn I know. A lot of shine goes off of him because of Grealish because Grealish does the little bits that make people stand up on their chairs, but in terms of hard work, putting in tackles, goals and assists, John McGinn is a top, top player.
“Villa have been a successful side largely down to him as well and his work-rate in there.”
And, speaking last summer, former Villa man Allan Evans raved about what the Scottish ace brings to the table, saying: “John has really been a saviour for Aston Villa. They were in a difficult situation and he was exactly the kind of guy they needed to get out of trouble.
“John has been a real star for the club. It was a disaster for him and Villa when he broke his leg. He is the type of player who can make a huge difference to a side. There are not too many like him around.”
Now valued at £43m by CIES, McGinn has enjoyed a meteoric rise both at domestic and international level, and that’s a real testament to the kind of work ethic he has in trying to be the best he can be.
And Villa have been the biggest winners of the lot.