When Aston Villa were promoted back to the Premier League after a four-year absence from the top flight, many expected a resilient side who were brilliant throughout the Championship last season. To make things better (at the time), Villa spent £145m on transfers over the summer and it surely looked like they were set for good fortunes this season. Only Manchester United coughed out more than Dean Smith’s side in the summer.
It’s six-game weeks gone already and the opposite is the story. Villa find themselves in 18th place and with only four points out of a total 24 points. Furthermore, only four more sides have scored fewer goals than Aston Villa and it makes the narrative even worse. Villa are now one of the favourites to be relegated this season and you can take advantage of the Daily Free Football Betting Tips to get the very best price available.
The manner in which they lost to Arsenal on Sunday compounded their season so far and showed it could be a long one for Dean Smith’s side alongside assistant John Terry. One that could yet see all their heavy spending come to a fruitless end.
It brings back memories of Sam Allardyce’s comments in the wake of the summer. The seasoned Premier League manager and former England boss warned that bringing in too many players could be dangerous and Villa should take a cue from Fulham and Everton who tried such and weren’t successful with the model.
Last season, London side Fulham, having secured a return to the big time, signed 15 players for a combined total of over £100 million, breaking their transfer record three times in less than a month.
The overhaul of the squad failed to have the desired impact, though, as Fulham were relegated with a whimper, the majority of their signings having already left the club.
Unfazed by that spectacular failure, Villa still spent big in the close season, eclipsing Fulham’s spending by a good margin as well.
Speaking on the Sports Breakfast in July (as quoted via Mirror) Allardyce said:
“It’s too many players; it’s too many to deal with.
“You can look at similar clubs that have done the same…
“Everton, when Romelu Lukaku left, they brought in seven or eight players and it became a struggle.
“Fulham brought 11 [sic] in for £100million, and for me, for £100million I’d like to see three players – not eight or nine.
“I have to question the quality of the player that is being bought when you’re stretching over £100million. It just cannot happen!
“Integrating players from different cultures, different environments and different religions is an extremely difficult job at our level, and the entire backroom staff need to be able to handle that to make sure the players adjust as quickly as possible.”
Villa might have shot themselves in the leg by going that far and intense in the transfer window without getting actual quality players. One or two established players with that kitty could have been the difference for them and ultimately what sees them gain points enough to stay alive in the Premier League and rebuild long term. Take a look at Teemu Pukki’s impact for Norwich so far and that begins to make sense.
However, there are still 32 games left and Villa can still improve their form and turn their season around. But at this stage, it’s not looking good and they face the prospect of being sent back to the Championship next season.