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.
“How long was that last 15 minutes?” Oh, Deano. An eternity. But you did it. Villa did it. And now we’re back where we belong. I really still can’t believe it.
I’ve seen Villa mocked a bit for their celebrations following the dramatic shootout victory at The Hawthorns. But when you think of all that’s happened, all that the players and supporters have been through, you can’t begrudge them one bit. It was a feat worth celebrating. A moment worth cherishing. No, we didn’t win any silverware, didn’t claim promotion. But what we did celebrate on the night was long overdue.