After a much needed influx of bodies in last season’s transfer windows, the name of the game this time round was to add quality and upgrade the team to push on. Before the 7-2 dismantling of Liverpool 7-2 We asked members of The Mad Few Facebook group, that is made up of listeners of the My Old Man Said podcast. to give their opinion on Villa’s transfer window.
We only have smart listeners of the show, so you should trust their opinions.
Here’s how they rated Villa’s transfer window…
We can retrospectively look on the last two transfer windows as ‘the one where we scrambled to get a squad together which could compete against Premier League Teams’ and ‘the one where we plugged the holes in our squad after the loss of two influential first-team players’.
I use the word influential lightly, but Wesley did look like he was turning a corner and Heaton was the experienced head we lacked.This one feels like the one where we build a first eleven, which still looks a massive way off the likes of Man City and Liverpool, but can challenge those mid-table teams who have been occupying our space and moved ahead of us by the virtue of the vast income handed to them from the last Premier League deal.
It feels like we have overpaid in some cases, but you never know until after a season or two if you have or not. Look at the Brewster to Sheffield United deal. Over £20million paid but inserted into that Liverpool have a buyback clause and also a 15% sell on reportedly.
However, if he scores the goals that keep them in the top tier he would have repaid this many times over (assuming the Premier League stays financially immune to the effects of the global pandemic).
Barkley is the player who stands out because he is a ‘name’. The similarities to the Drinkwater deal are that they are both well-known names in the Premier League, it’s a loan and they both command big wages. That’s where it ends though. We are getting a player who is ‘match fit’, has been more recently involved in the England set-up and age-wise should not have reached his peak yet.
We should also not underestimate the power of having a settled Grealish and Mings on long term contracts in the team who can convince this level of player to join the ‘Project’.
The signings of Martinez, Cash and Watkins have come with the added bonus of being wished well by the fans of the clubs they have left. I think this is always a good sign. They all seem to have quite balanced personalities and should settle quickly.
Martinez has the great skill of being comfortable with his feet which just improves us as a footballing side. Cash will work hard and get up and down the line. He also has that physicality which means we will be no pushovers and not get bullied in games which we were at times last season.
Watkins is the one though. We saw goals from the midfield last season so we know he have that in our locker. To have an attacker who makes attacking runs and looks to get on the end of things offers us a new dimension. It also makes us less static and predictable which we were in whole halves of games last season or at our worst whole games.
Traore adds to that last point and could also be a game-changer from the bench if we run out of ideas.
Off the field, it will take a while to judge Johan Lange but I hope that Shakespeare’s influence on the training field can lift us to the next level and so far, so good.
The window has been pretty good so far. We know that domestic talent costs (Watkins) and we’ll struggle to get top tier overseas talent until we’re more settled in the Prem.
Holding on to Grealish and Mings is a statement (and who knows how much of an actual risk it was that we’d lose them with the clickbait etc).
Traore is a great move. Barkley is a potentially good bridging loan (as long as he’s not another bread loaf*) and should help us to further consolidate and move further up the table.
Probably need another striker (Davis needs to improve drastically and we still have to get Wesley back + Prem-fit). But I feel a lot more optimistic about this season than last.
* Danny Drinkwater
Very good, the new signings give us more options and make our first 11 much stronger. Should the worst happen, and Grealish gets a lengthy injury, it feels like we have enough quality in the midfield now to cope.
Not so sure we have enough depth up front, although we could change our approach with Davis as long as goals were coming from midfield. Left back feels like it could be a problem that needs to be addressed in January.
I think we’ve developed the model of last year’s shopping spree. Still focussing on young hungry talent with strong resale possibilities, but we’ve moved up a level in terms of the talent coming in.
The Barkley signing was mooted in the press but I don’t think many would have expected it to happen.
I think we have made some solid signings in positions we needed greater quality. I think Barkley has the potential to be a really key move and I hope he is hungry to prove himself again.
Watkins needs time to settle in so I will reserve judgement [Matt’s probably made up his mind up after that Liverpool game!]. Martinez looks the real deal.
Once again NSWE have put their money where their mouth is and have trumped up another much needed cash. On the face of it our new signings should give us the upgrade required to climb the table and sharpen our tools in attack. Hoping for a far more comfortable season establishing a mid table finish fingers crossed.
Ambitious. I love seeing Purslow/Smith’s words being backed up with financial clout and decisive moves. I actually think that our best business this window may just have been adding Craig Shakespeare to the backroom staff.
Delighted to see some quality added to the first XI as opposed to the bulk squad buys last year.
First class – the most promising window for a long time. Securing Grealish, and getting in Barkley are huge signs of intent, not to mention the importance of Martinez to the whole team.
Owners, Smith, Technical director, even Terry combined to pull decent players in.
I believe this transfer window has been conducted with confidence and a lot more investigation. It seems to me that the scouts (Inc Lange) have been given specific details that are measurable for each player we have signed. The fans can see (barring the latest acquisition, Barkley) exactly why and where we will fit said player into the team.
Barkley is the exception as we didn’t necessarily need another midfielder, however he offers another dynamic to an already strong attack. He is the exact signing John McGinn mentioned earlier this year that we needed so that there was a fight for places.
Lastly touching on the optimism, the signings of the academy prospects and keeping us in the loop, allows the club to be more accountable with their youth, I look forward to us properly developing a few of these players in the coming years as an established Premier League side.
Thomas William Lintern
It seems what Smith is saying was right, we’ve gone for quality over quantity this window. The players we’ve signed noticeably look more athletic too, which is something we lacked last season. (Wesley playing dead, El Ghazi bottling it, teams walking past Nakamba in midfield etc).
It’s been a solid transfer window. There seems to be a plan behind it. If the Barkley loan comes off, it’ll have real effect.
Very positive so far, more about quality than quantity. Keeping Grealish and the signings of Martinez and Barkley, really shows that Villa are looking to compete in the PL rather than survive. Also, bringing in Shakespeare for me, with his experience and what he has achieved, is like like another signing. Can we do a Leicester? Watkins and Matty Cash have been superb and their work rate has been spot on. So far so good.
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The best part of Villa’s transfer window was frustrating the expectations of the media muppets with Grealish signing a new contract, and keeping the spine of the team intact should lead to a much-improved squad. I was initially disappointed not to sign Callum Wilson, and even more irritated to miss out to Newcastle, but the logic of avoiding an extortionate long-term contract makes solid sense at this stage of our Premier League return.
Probably the best we have ever had, everywhere you look it has all been about finding an upgrade. From Lange and Shakespeare to the first team squad, the work behind the scenes has been done efficiently and quietly – excellent team work to get the right players in. Bought in Premier League experience and also given young top Championship players an opportunity. Also, the youth players bought in look outstanding for a ‘bright future’.
Patrick O. Young
Certainly the best window since the MON days (2007/2008) – addresses all key needs and locked down Jack – love it!