After Jordan Amavi moved on the other week, only Micah Richards and Mark Bunn were left from the 12 players brought in the summer of the 2015/16 season, that ended in Villa’s relegation.
There was no January transfer window, as then Villa boss Remi Garde was left out to dry by the Villa board, whom waved the white flag as the club perished into the Championship.
Steve Bruce’s January window this year though, was the window that was meant to bring new hope. Bruce was the manager that was backed by the media and many Villa fans to get the club back where it belonged.
On paper, at least, the window focused on getting in players that were already impressing in the Championship. Villa bought what were regarded as the best players at several Championship clubs – Henri Lansbury (Nottingham Forest), Conor Hourihane (Barnsley) and Scott Hogan (Brentford).
In essence, Villa were happy to play the playground bullies taking away other Championship club’s sweets.
Bruce’s January business seemed sound. As well as young guns, Sam Johnstone on loan from Manchester United and James Bree from Barnsley, Icelandic international Birkir Bjarnason looked a useful buy too, as did left-back Neil Taylor.
Yet, so far, on the whole, the January acquisitions that cost over £20m have failed to impress and give the Villa boss the team he was hoping for.
Hogan, for example, has so far followed in the footsteps of Ross McCormack of being a costly flop. While what was meant to be the core of a new Villa midfield, the duo of Lansbury and Hourihane, seem to being playing within themselves and shackled.
Ironically, Villa’s best players last season were two Roberto Di Matteo signings – Jonathan Kodjia and Mile Jedinak.
‘Villa were happy to play the playground bullies taking away other Championship club’s sweets.’
In the latest My Old Man Said podcast we discuss three of the January signings in particular, the three that should have sparked Villa into the play-offs last season.
Broadly speaking, we tackle the following questions:
Is Scott Hogan becoming Villa’s latest Sick Note? Are Conor Hourihane shortcomings so far, Bruce’s fault? And what’s up with Bjarnason?
At the moment, all three seem to be lost souls in B6.
Check the discussion in podcast episode out here:
Episode 25 also includes a look at Villa’s poor start, Bruce’s situation, Andre Green’s final touch and Gareth Barry going to the Albion.
We further discussed Villa’s underperforming players in the previous podcast episode 24 too, as well as the first week of Villa’s season and Bruce’s retreat to ‘experience’ after hinting at a more progressive approach in pre-season.
What do you think?
When you look at Bruce’s January signings, considering the various player’s reputations before they joined Villa, certainly almost all of them are under-performing.
Who do you think has been the best January 2017 signing so far?