Aston Villa’s summer was a considerable statement.
After bringing in 12 players for over £130m, they looked Premier League-ready. However, the warning signs were there.
There were reasons to suggest they wouldn’t have the same failures as the Cottagers, though. They’d signed players in Tyrone Mings, Anwar El Ghazi and Kortney Hause who had already been at the club. On top of that, they had a clear policy – to sign young players with potential.
The likes of Wesley, Matt Targett and Ezri Konsa fell into that category.
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Fast forward to the January window and one of their biggest mistakes from the summer months is now staring them right in the face.
At the top of their list this month is a striker but had they done the work in the summer, they wouldn’t have to scramble around and panic in the early exchanges of the new decade.
A matter of months ago, Sporting Director Suso and Chief Executive Christian Purslow had ample opportunity to sign another forward but they decided against it.
It’s a problem they’ll now struggle to solve and it’s had an adverse effect on their ambitions to stay in the division.
Wesley has never hit the ground running, scoring just five times, while Jonathan Kodjia has spent large periods out of the team.
This doesn’t look like a side capable of staying up based on their efforts in the final third.
Speaking last week, manager Dean Smith had the following to say about their recruitment: “We’ve got business planned, that’ll continue. I’m sitting down tonight with Christian (Purslow) and Suso to see what this changes for us. It’ll hasten what we do in the market.”
Signing a striker was always going to be the priority in January but it could have been solved over four months ago.
Instead, they unnecessarily spent on players like Douglas Luiz when they already had a strong midfield containing John McGinn, Jack Grealish and Conor Hourihane.
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January is notoriously hard to recruit and now Purslow and Suso are scrambling around for unwanted talent.
In more recent times, they’ve been linked with moves for Tosun, someone who has one goal all season and Glenn Murray. The Brighton man is now 36 and after failing to net this term in the league, it would be wrong to suggest he could lift them to safety.
This is a problem of their hierarchy’s making and they will now struggle to fix it.