Dean Smith’s Exciting Targets
In an interview Dean Smith conducted before the end of last season, the Aston Villa Head Coach admitted he was excited by the club’s summer transfer targets. He added Villa supporters would be too. The remarks hadn’t really got much attention from the fanbase, as it’s the type of token positive comments you’d expect. There was no detail, so fans were left to second guess as to the scale of what he meant.
For seasoned Villa supporters, excited by transfers used to mean marque signings, the type of proven players that when they held the club’s shirt up after putting pen to paper, meant the club could expect an uptake in season ticket sales.
Nowadays, in the age of social media and Youtube highlights videos, the new age of Villa supporters will get excited by the signings for Villa of the likes of Nicklas Helenius and Leandro Bacuna.
So, MOMS was thinking, ‘Dean, are we talking old skool excitement or modern day?’
James Ward-Prowse Villa Link Rumour
With it being reported yesterday that Villa were in pole position to enlist the services of Emiliano Buendía from Norwich City, whose five-year contract is expected to be worth around £80,000-a-week, the latest transfer link via The Guardian for Southampton’s James Ward-Prowse has certainly raised a few eyebrows.
The Guardian article entitled ‘Aston Villa set to make move for Southampton’s James Ward-Prowse’ offered up zero evidence of Villa making any legitimate moves, so it must be treated with caution.
If, for now, we look at it from a hypothetical standpoint, it would be hard to see Southampton parting ways with the England international midfielder, who lines up for England vs Romania this weekend alongside both Jack Grealish and Tyronne Mings, unless a team was prepared to pay top dollar.
Also, Ward-Prowse would have to be convinced that Villa were going places. A 11th place Premier League finish following a 17th one, would on face value seem a sideways step for the player.
However, if there’s a lack of legitimate interest in Ward-Prowse from any of the supposed big boys, then seeing Villa drop £33m+ on Buendía and spending time recently with Villa’s England trio of Grealish, Mings and Watkins, means he might believe in the potential upside that Villa could offer compared to The Saints. Not to mention, the sizeable improved personal terms he’d likely get too.
Fast-track Villa Ambition
If Villa have actually made an approach, it shows you that the owners want to fast-track and lift Villa’s ambition in the short-term, as well as making sure the club is astute in their mid-term planning in terms of the age range they have been targeting (Villa’s average age of their first XI last season was the league’s 2nd lowest) and their long-term vision, with recent serious investment in the academy.
Villa being in the mix for the likes of Ward-Prowse and Buendía is exactly where the club needs to be, and a surprise to none who have been reading between the lines of the ambitions for the club of Nassif Swaris and Wes Edens.
At the moment, such ambition for Aston Villa is very much under the radar of the rest of the footballing world and media, and Villa’s 11th place in the table last season certainly helped keep it there.
Villa showed true potential last season to suggest a further upturn is not simply wishful thinking. They still have the element of surprise and could make a big impression, if Dean Smith’s exciting summer targets become reality.