Silly season, yes, but not so silly for Villa. There’s obviously a very clear intent, from the clear-out to the funds made available, for Villa to stay up. And as far as all the links go, it seems the majority of them have had legs in one way or another. If it weren’t for some very high valuations, I have a feeling Villa’s business might well be largely done by now. But you can’t blame clubs trying to get the most for a player.

So, Maupay and Benrahma sit out there, seemingly a bit further away than Kalvin Phillips, although I’m reading that Maupay is now listed at £15m instead of £22m. So we’ll probably see just how much Dean thinks he can offer at the next level. But then there’s all this Sturridge talk, and I don’t know what to think about that potential move, to be honest. Then out of nowhere, Ezri Konsa gets mentioned and a deal is done.

When it comes to Phillips, I liked a comment I saw somewhere that asked whether Leeds’ contract extension offer and subsequent rejection weren’t window dressing for the inevitability of Phillips leaving. If Benrahma isn’t coming, then perhaps Trezeguet, though interest seems to be hotting up around him. Will Elmo prove decisive in his capture if we really are after him? Butland costs too much. How about Heaton? Cahill vs. Webster? A loan deal still a possibility for Axel? Dominoes. Which indicates some clear thinking.

In short, Villa seem to be playing it smart where they think they can. They’ve decided certain thresholds are acceptable, like those with Mings and Targett, and seem ready to move on from other players they’re less convinced about, value-wise. Having established a basic starting XI, and being given extra funds, Villa will be a bit cagey down the stretch. But. Just as with our first signings, Villa also are ready to pounce. Seems Deano’s knowledge of Ezri Konsa, for example, allowed the club to move quickly, perhaps moving on from Webster.

So far, I think it’s been good business. From what I’m reading, we’re out around £74m–£82m for El Ghazi, Jota, Wesley, Hause, Mings, Targett, and Konsa, then whatever we paid for Guilbert.

So, you’ve got Hause, Mings, Konsa, and Chester. Competition at both fullback spots. Two wingers (plus Green, who I don’t think is ready to feature regularly) and a striker (not counting Hogan and Kodjia). But anyway, seven players in so far for around £7.5m–£12m a pop. Is it a side that can stay up right now? Maybe, maybe not.

Most likely we’re not deep enough, but we’re getting there with our back four. Smith clearly saw the need to beef things up back there and hasn’t really hesitated. I still don’t think our goalscoring options are varied or proven enough. We need that DM desperately, but also need a second striker (apologies, Jimmy Danger) every bit as much. We need another winger. Wouldn’t mind seeing a keeper who’s been playing in the PL come in. Another CB? Yes, but that’s apparently Konsa as of Wednesday. So that’s likely four still to come, maybe five, and I wouldn’t bet against that happening. Can still see someone like Cahill coming, with Konsa as more of an understudy. But is Smith ready to commit to making Cahill a starter? Then I have no idea what that means for Chester, but I’ve a feeling he might never be the same following the injury, and probably wouldn’t have brought the pace and size needed for the PL, regardless.

And we’ve not heard a peep about Bjarnason or Lansbury staying or going. And if we do bring in Phillips, what happens to Conor? I think he stays, but will likely feature from the bench.

Looking ahead to next week, I’ll be in attendance as Villa take on Minnesota United in Minneapolis. Never been there. So I’ll share whatever insights I can glean from that. Looking forward to seeing the new boys, and very much hoping to be impressed by Wesley, especially, in some way shape or form. But Guilbert, Targett, Jota, and Konsa are also players of which I’ve seen very little to nothing, so it should be enlightening however Smith & Co. decide to approach it. Here’s hoping one or two more might make the trip, but I doubt that will happen.

Can’t say you’ll have the most timely match report because I’ll be heading to the pubs where the Villans are meeting up, but I’ll let you know what I see. Even if that’s two Wesleys running around.

In the meantime, welcome to all the new boys, and I’ll keep clicking all the links.

Over to you.

Comments 77

  1. Highly impressed by the thought process into the acquisitions so far, thankfully in my opinion, Cahill wants game time and a large salary which rules him out of Villa, i’m not one for going backwards or getting a leggy thirty something, when today’s defenders are young, powerful, good on the ball and we’ll have that with Hause and Mings with Chester and Konsa as back up and even a cheeky end of window loan deal for Tuanzebe could come about.

    We do need competition in the goal keeping department, I’d prefer getting value so the likes of Heaton or Mendy would be better than paying over the odds for the likes of Butland. Definitely need a defensive mid to replace Whelan, Philips would be ideal but Hourihane could carry out the role, the Egyptian Trezeguet looks like a certainty bar some other PL team upsetting it by offering more money and agreed we need another striker but expect that it will come about with Hogan or Kodiga moving on at the same time.

    Having said all that, we’re only returning back to full squad numbers so there is a lot of competition for places in defence and midfield and and an ownership team that would be in a position to fund again in January if things aren’t going our way.

  2. Welcome to VP Ezri. You join at a vibrant time and you will be able to experience VP packed to the rafters with a raucous crowd behind you. Your new colleagues will no doubt enlighten you.

    Not only does Deano know the player’s capabilities, he also knows his character which is just as important for team bonding. I’m sure Jack is already giving him the treatment.

    JC – I do think we are close to reaching survival strength. My optimism is down to the pace we now have at the back. Sure it is likely to be sliced open by Pep and co but some of the lower teams will find us a tough nut. The missing jigsaw piece for me is a powerful midfielder. Get that sorted and we’re good to go. Thereafter, team building can be more measured and progress up the table maintained.

    Deano will still take Axel on loan if he can get him, but if not, we’ll run with what we have.

  3. Thanks JC hope they put a show on for you.

    Apparently we are close to signing Björn Engels another CB?? also saw that us and Bournemouth are after Our former youth player Robinson whom we should never of let go, Don’t know how true that is.

    Very pleased with buys so far, we were told we would sign young talent with potential and thats what we have. Theres a few murmurings that we are doing a Fulham but they fail to point out that we have 7 players in before Fulham even bought one. And that 3 of those played for us last season and one was bought.

    Few holes to plug, would be happy with Heaton, Maupay a DM and a Winger but I think its likely we will get more. No Cahill for me but would welcome him if he turns up. Full backs are the positions I am hoping we have bought right in, we shall see. At the rate we are acquiring CB’s are we going to see 3 at the back with wingbacks?

    hers hoping that all the old faces present and not present are enjoying it so far.

  4. Thanks JC.
    Mark – so far so good
    Looking forward to seeing how we come together in pre-season, as by the end of it we may have some idea.
    Apart from what DS does as per normal, it should also be interesting how he adapts & changes from last season in his approach..

  5. DarrenO – Luiz looks class, real class and at only 20, he is the missing bit of the smith puzzle, a solid defender that has real quality in his passing, Brazil are looking at him to be their DM.

    IanG- I think we are about to see something very different from Smith, last season was very much him making do with what was available, as I have mentioned above that DM position is crucial and so are the FB’s. I do wonder where Jack will fit in? I don’t think he will be dropping back so much along with McGinn and we will offer a true high press.

  6. Very happy with what I have read about Douglas Luis, Brazil’s under 23’s captain, and the fact that it is virtually a done deal again.

    Excellent write up once again JC, and it is great that Villa are getting really good deals done before the press are really aware, and that we have not really signed any of their hopeful punts.

    It is clear that Dean and his management team have had their list of players that they wanted, gone about their business quietly, and we have not been gazumped once, so far.

    Bodymoor Heath could be a busy place this weekend with our final signings in view!!

  7. Some one pinch me and wake me up!!! I can’t get over the signings, so shrewd, let the press keep hanging on to this story and that, then bring what appear to be really brilliant signings in under the radar and at very reasonable prices to-boot. Well I’m on call next week so won’t be able to make it to Minnesota, even though its not that far a drive just 20hours or so. Already had to get cover for Saturday as we have tickets for Def Leppard, and then it’s only four weeks to the Spurs game. I don’t think we are settling to just stay up, i believe we are looking to push the Everton’s and so on in the mid-table. Not been this excited about a new season coming since they announced Rangers were coming to Villa Park for a pre-season “friendly” if you could call it that. Anyway, have a busy day today have to monitor Wimbledon and practice at Silverstone such a tough job today. Hopefully we don’t get the storms we did yesterday and I don’t have to keep switching feeds. Just two or three more and I think we’ll be ready..

  8. Like Canadian villan can’t believe this summer’s football from getting promoted, to seeing the back of so many players,roll on 1st game
    Even with all new boys including the 2 mentioned today still want a keeper,another centre midfielder, winger and finally a striker,

  9. Cheers, all…

    You go to bed, wake up, and there’s another Brazilian in the door.

    Have to say, that was very cleverly done. Never a sniff in the papers. Guessing they let the Phillips interest remain open, but were sorting out the permit issues in the meantime, making sure they could get Luiz done.

    Not messing about, that’s for sure.

  10. Crickey. The news sites are on fire. Deano still looking for 6 players……….Luiz……….Engels……..JT next manager of Wai Ayes……

    Hold tight. The ride is going to be something special.

  11. Woke up to the Luiz news.
    Seems a sound signing & better than those talked about, hope he gets the work permit, & like the professional mode we seem to be in.
    It seems we have finally got the sneaky gene with transfers, a lot different to the last owner’s bombast.
    JG – that list of player needs is about the minimum we need, & it wouldn’t surprise me if we start buying for the academy next.
    Wild ride!

  12. A couple thoughts:

    Doing a Fulham? As all Villans know, and has been pointed out by the always astute Lifers, we’ve kept the spine, minus Tammy, and have now upgraded the DM. So there’s continuity or improvement where it counts. And none of us were convinced Tammy was going to offer as much threat at the next level. He didn’t have any real top-flight experience, and Wesley seems bigger, stronger, perhaps faster, and might very well have better feet. Main thing is that he’ll be slotting in along with Jack, John, and Anwar, so three of four who’ve played together a lot. He’ll have to adjust, but has a good supporting cast, and a defined role for which I’m sure he’s supposed to have the tools.

    Jota for Albert? Well, Adomah, much as I like him, had run his course with us. Was never going to produce much at the PL level. You could count on him to track back, and be in position, but he just wasn’t creating enough.

    Luiz for Whelan or Jedinak? That’s a no-brainer. Filling up an empty cupboard at CB? Again, no-brainer, especially when you’ve brought back two players who’ve already played together. With Chester’s prospects very uncertain, getting in three and now possibly four CBs? Well, if you’ve got the money, you might as well be strong at the back, and strong in depth. We saw what happens when you’re not covered back there. And with John Terry coaching them all? You can’t tell me he hasn’t had a huge say in evaluating these players. Not sure who’d know any better.

    Competition/replacement for Taylor and Elmo? Again, simple decision. May well start off with those two, but Guilbert and Targett have enough time to get settled to make either a possible starter against Spurs. But if Deano wants continuity, again, he’s got it, and can transition the new players into things.

    Extras coming in? Insurance and depth. Sell-on value.

    But the real thing, as many of us have pointed out, is that last year Deano was making do with what he inherited, and was limited to damage control in the January window. He showed he knew how to find a quick fix there.

    Outsiders see the final table, the odd game here or there, see the playoff final, read about the 10-game win streak, think all’s well. But they’d no idea, as we did all along, how much work was going to need to be done. And how much magic Smith had worked transforming everything behind the scenes and then on the pitch to summon up so many goals and belief from the squad. He’ll know that these new players are willing to work and have the right attributes to fit into his ways and plans.

    And I think he’ll be able to get them doing what he wants. This job means as much if not more to him than that of any other manager in the PL.

  13. The main reason we are buying so many players, is the ending of the under 23’s, and Smith replacing them with a proper reserve team capable of deputising for the first team, and a better route for our academy to achieve first team experience.

  14. Paul Pears
    Yes, that has been forgotten I think in all the excitement of Villa spending serious money.
    It would explain why we have so many CHs among other thing, as there is a gap to the U18s, & the change of system needs time to plug the gaps until the reorganisation properly connects with the player flow coming through.

  15. Luiz looks a proper talent. Mark I said in the depths of winter when we was mid table we won’t see a proper smith team until he gets his full backs and cdm in. Crucial. We will play so high up on the front foot.

    Superb business at the mo but think we need a bit more up top. I love el ghazi but good enough for prem every week? Want 2 wingers and Maupay. Linked with sessagon. Trezagut could well be very very exciting.

  16. Great comments guys, and well thought out leader JC,

    Just watched the recent Martin Laursen interview on YouTube. What a stud. Great to hear him rave, and rave about how much he loves our great club. And we are great again, thanks to DS and the new intelligent owners.

    Listening to Konsa speak “I love to play out with the ball, I’m a natural ball playing footballer”, maybe DS is also thinking of him as our defensive midfielder.

    I still believe in Hogan and hope he gets a run. Personally I don’t want another striker. I think with Jack, John, Conor, Jota, El Ghazi, Hogan, Wesley, and Kodger we have enough goals. I’ve an inkling that Jota may be our player of the year.

    I work for a French company out of Paris and asked about Guilbert who we signed for 4.5M. They said he’s close to starting for France. Very strong and aggressive RB. Only flaw is temper

  17. I would like Heaton, even at 10m. He has 3 years left in him and saved Burnley on his own last year. Hopefully Heaton and Steer, and we can offload the other two with our 3rd choice getting experience in Scotland.

    Really hope o’Hare, Doyle-Hayes and our fox in the box RHM get some game time

  18. They say rhm is awful! Linked to the Newcastle gk today.


    Sounds great on guilbert. Deano does seem to like a player with a bit of a nasty streak. Which I love. One thing in history villa have always been is a bit nice bordering soft. We are close to having a stupidly good window but we have to improve attack. Need more options and quality. Wesley may take ages to settle and get injured. Kodjer and hogan not up to prem and Davis needs a loan.

  19. H and V, I hope not on RHM. We have a quality player there if he puts his head down. However I thought that about GG and especially Luke Moore. I still believe Luke Moore could have been Gary Lineker class if he had the right influence and guidance

  20. A great feeling coming to new season so much of our dross gone
    As for price for Heaton, I thought we overpaid for friedal all those years ago and look at the bargain he turned out

  21. James Gill, yeah I think it’s critical to get Heaton in.

    MK, great video. Never heard of o’Kelly, but what is clear is he’s very smart just like Dean. Wow, finally we have a hugely intelligent management teM

  22. By the time we have finished our business, it looks as if we will have recruited a new eleven, providing us with sufficient competition for two solid teams.

    Looking like the final four will be Douglas Luis, Trezeguet, Maupay and a goalkeeper, with Martin Dubravka, from Newcastle Utd, now looking favourite.

    Nice to see Conor Hourihane get a new deal.

  23. I’ve re watched the play off final so many times and conor was outstanding.

    That’s not a bad final 4 Paul if it comes off. Maupay is the one for me. I have everything crossed!

    Can play right side of 3 too.

    Too greedy to want another lw?!

  24. Another 4 minimum to survive, well I reckon 3 from your last list are almost there , Luiz, Engels, Trezeguet and that Marvelous lad seems keen to join us althought i’m not sure about his methods, i’d love Maupay to join (newspaper talk is we are the lead team or lazy journalism because of the Smith link)

  25. Mark

    haha I just meant having a team/depth ready for the prem! shows how much of a mess the squad was. we need another 50mill at least spent too.

    It very easy to get excited and I trust deano 100% but no guarantesss on these players

  26. Looks like RHM is off on loan to Tranmere, who are newly promoted, and should be good for him.

    H & V,

    Dean is not in the market to sell any players that may have potential at the moment. As Villa re-establish themselves in the Premier league, it will improve the price of their stock, and that can only be good for all concerned. We need all our players to become good premiership players, capable of stepping up to the mark, and then when the time is right they can be sold on, making money for us, and at the same time furthering their career.

    Over the next few seasons, I am sure we are going to raising the standards of our squad, and most will be full internationals for their countries, and sought after players for Champions League clubs.

  27. Yep, Spud has dumped Sheff Weds after 6 months. Don’t know how he will be able to face his new players, let alone their fans. Don’t suppose he cares as long as he picks up another wedge when they sack him.

  28. H&V- Don’t want to jinx it but I don’t think I have ever seen so many well thought out buys, Engels could be a starter with Mings, haven’t seen Chester in the training vids have you? maybe the lads days are numbered.

    Players likely to start? Jack, McGinn, Mings, Wes and maybe the FB’s are pretty nailed on along with Luis if he comes.

    IanG- I’ve received an offer of a bag of crisps and half empty bottle of stout for your services, whats your schedule like?

    Plug- Bruce has already had an earful off of a Sheff weds fan the other day, think he has dodged another cabbage by going now. I hope he does well with Newcastle season after this would be handy for us.

  29. I’ve seen Chester in the vids but no Marshall Dillon.
    Have a feeling that he won’t be ready for the beginning of the season.
    No doubt DS will surprise us.

  30. Well I have now listened to both RO’K (the rock) and Deano’s interviews and I haven’t heard such logical and positive attitudes coming out of Villa Park since the 80’s. You can see why Dean has taken the rock with him every where, he talks so much sense and seems to understand the game from it’s simplest of levels. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s half the reason JT signed up for longer, he is picking so much up from this guy. It seems survival is the very bare bones minimum this group expects this season, challenging the top half seems to be the preferred target reading between the lines. I love the way Richard says even Man City make mistakes but every one covers for every one else, and that way they don’t then get punished very often. He states that him and Dean want us to play that way and also to pick up on those mistakes the big boy’s make. So simple when you break it down, reminds so much of Clough and Taylor, don’t over complicate the game, and don’t coach natural talent out of the players, use their natural talent to fit the style of play we want.
    This is awesome the feeling we are all getting hearing some common sense for the first time in a long time.
    Can’t wait for tomorrow’s surprise!!!

  31. I hope the 3 or 4 is on top of engles and luiz.

    Chester is looking good in the videos but match fit is different.

    Ill be so much more relaxed if we got Butland maupay and a winger in.
    Going forward we are cutrrently to short.

  32. TSN over here are currently playing Europe’s top 50 goals of 2018/19. Number 23 was John McGinn against Wednesday, it sure was a cracker and worth it’s place.

  33. Most pl squads work of 23/4,so if we say 2 of our keepers plus Chester Jack Conor mcginn and 1 of hogan/Kodga,that’s 7 ,still needing 16 ,would keep Elmo if we sign trezeguet otherwise him Taylor, Thor keeper,lansbury and striker need to go as well,good bit of work to do yet

  34. Welcome to VP Bjorn. I hope your arrival turns out to be a great success.

    Lifers……I guess this means that Axel won’t be returning. But I must say that Deano has been giving it his best shot and I can’t wait for the new season to start. Bring it on.

  35. Plug- its quite likely that engels is a better bet in the prem than Axel, 24 has better attacking stats like shots on goal and has better passing stats being equal to Mings for his long passes and defensive work and headers.

  36. Villa have spent a ton of money just to buy players, enough money to run an NHL team for 18 months and that is everything on the ice player wise including salaries. What choice did they have? To stay up they needed Prem quality players of which they only had a few. The size of the spend relates exactly to the amount of money the TV contracts give the league. 9 players left as they didn’t have the talent to stay or were older, they needed replacing. Young players have been brought in to become “Villans”. Most of them sound positive about joining the club. Academy players are being considered as Smith sees the value of homegrown and needs to do this as incentive for the young up and comers. I think we have seen the end of youth leaving, especially talented youth.
    As for Chester the thought is he is slowly being pushed aside. Good enough to be kept but not good enough for a guaranteed spot in the starting 11. he is well aware of the comings and goings of professional football. It will always be what have you done lately. There is no time for a stumble in your career. His loyalty to the club is commendable but that was last year. I want him to succeed but not replace someone better due to a feeling of we owe him one. It’s no different than Alan Hutton leaving after giving 8 years to the club, excellent or indifferent in play. We appreciated it but really every week could easily be your last. No time for sentiment. Unfortunately.
    It’s entertainment with a big dose of tribalism. Something to get you through the week til the next game. You don’t watch cr*p TV because there is an actor you used to like, same with football. Who remembers Benteke every day? No one.

  37. Only saw 2nd half, Guillbert looks amazing. His running was unreal, so fast. Mings and Chester class. Left back, oh my…Taylor is s**te again. Green, a complete waste, utter useless

  38. Haven’t seen the game yet, but Lansbury and Bjarnason were very good, according to reports, Jack scored a good goal in the first half. Mings looked a little shaky, as VillaMD says, Guilbert and Jota both had good performances too.

    Looking forward to finding match on You Tube, as streams last night were not showing the correct game.

  39. they say guilbert was great. quick too which I didn’t think. But its only glorified training session.

    worried about purslow saying just 2 or 3 more. no where near enough.

    a winger a st is essential else we will struggle

  40. So, back from the match (and overwhelmed catching up at work)…

    But. As you’ve read, great support, good access to players and staff. Deano just like you see him, very friendly and willing to have a word.

    Team looked decent. Minnesota didn’t offer much threat, and it was very hot and humid.

    Will get something up over the weekend.

  41. We remain short in midfield. Could really do with Luiz signing but the longer it goes……..maybe it won’t happen. Hope I’m wrong though.

  42. Trezeguet deal agreed, and undergoing medical. This and the completion of the Douglas Luiz to be announced within the next 72 hours, bringing our total signings to date to ten.

    Just need Maupay now and one of Etheridge, Butland or Heaton to wrap it all up!!!

    Roll on the Villa.

    Looking forward to tomorrow’s friendly with Shrewsbury Town, which will be on the AVFC official You Tube channel for those who cannot make the game.

  43. Yeah but land and Maupay would make us a very competitive team. Please god don’t leave us short after such a great window. There is talk of one biggish signing left….linked to leao who would be 30 odd mill. I’d like a striker who could also play out either side of front 3 too. Fills two positions then in the squad.

  44. The narrowing speculation is very interesting now. Don’t disagree we need another striker.

    Can’t see it being Leao, that’s a lot of money. Though Maupay won’t be cheap, either, I’m still thinking he’s the most likely, would cost £10m-£15m less, leaving more room for a keeper. But there might still be room for Kalinic. He’s got to be better than what we saw, and with a better back line and someone like Luiz in front, might be more comfortable.

    Just sort of seems like the ones we’ve wanted we’ve gone and got, and the keeper thing keeps hanging in the air. Dunno if it’s about finding a buyer for Kalinic, seeing if prices go down…And with Maupay, again not sure if it’s the price, hesitancy on Dean’s part, respect for Brentford. Could be about nailing down Trezeguet and Luiz first, then evaluating where they want to spend. Have to be getting close to the limit, now. And again, are they trying to offload Hogan first, etc…

  45. Well, not such an exciting friendly game v Walsall, but there were some nice touches from Wesley, Guilbert and Jota in the first half. It was nice to see Hogan finishing for once, and he showed plenty of fight, as did Bjarnason.
    Good to see that Keinan Davis has become more solid, and held up the ball well. Jack showed how good he can be with the ball, but there was no end result.
    Konsa looked good alongside Mings, and should make a good pairing, but Chester also played well in the second half.
    Lansbury still looks as if he has something to offer, but felt that Hourihane could have done more, especially with dead ball situations. Callum O’Hare did not match up to my expectations of him, and needs to be much more clinical, having two chances that he should put away.
    James Bree looks much stronger, defensively, than Guilbert, but would not match his attacking capabilities.
    Jed Steer was steady as ever in goal, and Neil Taylor put in a good shift in the first half. McGinn was quiet for him.

  46. Accurate summary PP. Except it was Shrewsbury :). These games are all about fitness building. With so many changes at half time it’s not surprising that cohesion suffers. By the time we get to Leipzig, who are in the Champions League next season, we should have a better idea of how we’re doing.

    I hope you are right about Luiz. I’m looking forward to the next few days with great interest.

  47. Quite right Plug, no point looking to much at the games as a pointer, the players will be going through some beastings to build their fitness up so will be fatigued in these matches. Also they are strangers as yet, it will and has to improve or we are dead ducks.

  48. Well spotted Plug……old age taking it’s grip.

    Hoping to make the Walsall game, as I shall be in Birmingham that day.

    I am sure things will work out well, but it is good to see that our original players in the quad are starting to look good again, under Dean and his team.

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