The extreme summer makeover, as we also all know, was going to happen whether we were promoted or not. The only difference is that promotion meant we had a lot more money to spend. The real question will be whether—after all that spending—we can score enough.
Despite some criticism of our business, the football’s looking good, and much more coherent than might be expected. There’ve been some lovely moves and passages of play. But that’s what you can get when you have a philosophy, good scouting, and only recruit players who fit.
My initial impressions of the new boys have been positive. They seem to be bedding in fairly well, and there was a lot less of that “well, they haven’t played much together” look than I might have expected. A basic grounding has clearly been covered in training, and the important thing is that it seems like the additions actually do fit into the way Smith wants to play.
So far, I think Villa have done 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, seven new signings in this window so far for around £7.5m–£12m a pop. Pretty reasonable. And all fitting Dean’s and Purslow’s criteria.
The alacrity with which Villa cleared the dressing room obviously indicates that decisions had been made a while back and that there’s no time to waste getting the club remade in time for the preseason. So, Promotion Plan was implemented, and it seems a lot of homework has been done. Exhibit A was the speed with which they got Jota in, and now Exhibit B is what’s being called the shock signing of Wesley.