When Aston Villa signed Jonathan Kodjia for a then Championship record of £16m back in the summer of 2016, it was seen as a major coup by everyone involved at the club.
Roberto Di Matteo waxed lyrical about his newest signing, saying: “We are really pleased to have secured the services of Jonathan. He is a proven goalscorer and hopefully he’ll play an important part in what we hope will be a successful season for the Club.”
106 games later however, and Kodjia showed himself to be anything but a “proven goal-scorer”. The Ivory Coast international managed just 31 goals across all competitions, and made quite the mockery of former owner Tony Xia’s proud declaration on Twitter that a “world-class” striker was close to arriving at Villa Park.
We’re working very hard 2have a world class 9#striker. Very close to the new full back. Hope both will happen next week! Enjoy weekend!#UTV
— Dr. Tony Xia (@Dr_TonyXia) August 21, 2016
If Xia thought the man to fit that bill was Kodjia, then boy was he sadly mistaken. Less than four years later, the 30-year-old sealed his exit from the Premier League side, completing a move to Qatari side Al Gharafa, with it being suggested that they had paid just £2.5m to take him off Villa’s hands.
The striker enjoyed his best spell at Villa under Steve Bruce, managing a respectable 23 goals and seven assists in 60 games – essentially a goal contribution every other game. And the now Newcastle boss was never shy about praising him, once saying: “You only have to come and watch him to see what a good player he is. He’s got that trick in his locker.”
But whilst he showed flashes of promise under Bruce, there’s no questioning that Kodjia didn’t end up delivering on expectations at Villa Park. Xia didn’t exactly give him the best chance to succeed by claiming that the club were close to bringing in a superstar striker, and ultimately, he’ll go down as a major transfer blunder.