At the Villa Fans Consultation Meeting earlier in the week with Villa CEO Keith Wyness and other club representatives, talk turned to how the club are attempting to plan for next season, with the uncertainty of which division they’ll be in.
If Villa get promoted to the Premier League, then upgrading the squad can obviously be financed by the bounty of Premier League TV rights money. While staying in the Championship would see severe limitations in terms of the kind of players the club could attract and waving goodbye to loanees such as Sam Johnstone and Robert Snodgrass, who would only potentially stay if Villa were playing Premier League football next season.
Another season in the Championship would also test the patience of the likes of James Chester, after two failed attempts to return back to the division where he’ll probably feel he should be playing.
Wyness said in passing during the meeting that Villa would need six new players in the summer window.
Double the Scouting
The Villa CEO stated that Villa’s Football Director Steve Round and the scouting team have been busy watching players across Europe with next season in mind, but have the issue of having to look at two types of players – those for the Premier League and those for the Championship.
This obviously takes time more time, something that Villa will have increasingly less of if they don’t get automatic promotion this season.
If Villa enter the Championship play-offs, that’s potentially another month of limbo in terms of knowing the club’s destination. A period where the two automatically promoted teams and the rest of the Premier League can already firm up recruitment plans.
Also, the summer transfer window will now close earlier in both the Premier League and Championship, shortening the window’s length by closing when the season kicks-off. This will mean that promotion via the play-offs will leave the club with the shortest rebuilding period a promoted club has had in the Premier League in recent times.
There are of course no guarantees Villa would triumph through the play-offs, but while a Wembley day out is always nice (unless you’re getting walloped in an FA Cup final), the extra month’s preparation for the Premier League would be preferable in enabling the club time to build a team to compete in the division.
Long term Squad Building
Wyness also shed a bit of light on his recent talks with Danish club Lyngby. Expanding on the meeting’s minutes:
Discussions are ongoing and at a commercially sensitive time. If it works it would be a feeder club and also where we can give our young talent greater experience. Lyngby is recognised as having an excellent Academy system.
Beyond the above passage, he informed us that a verdict on any potential deal should be finalised (either way) before the end of the season. Wyness indicated that as footballing people, the Danes were very much on the same frequency and they got on well with each other.
The Villa CEO also said, there maybe a link-up with another European club in the offing. Watch this space for that.
So while promotion is promotion, no matter who you get up, for having the chance to build a better foundation in the Premier League from the off, automatic promotion will be much more preferable for the extra weeks it provides.
Also, judging by recent results against teams that will potentially contest the play-offs, it’s very much something of a lottery and would also lead to a lot of wasted time trying to recruit players, if Villa failed to come through them.
While we can, lets fight tooth and nail for at least that second spot.