Aston Villa: How can Dean Smith's side avoid another unsuccessful transfer window?
Aston Villa celebrated their return to the top tier with a relatively lavish transfer window last summer, and despite narrowly managing to preserve their Premier League status at the end of July, the general consensus amongst fans appears to be that the majority of new recruits failed to live up to their billing. Dean Smith is understandably keen to strengthen his squad ahead of the 2020-21 campaign, and the West Midlands outfit must avoid making the same costly mistakes twelve months on.
Douglas Luiz has arguably been the biggest success of last summer's transfer window, with the Brazilian's form since the restart having caught the eye of his former employers Manchester City. The 22-year old failed to earn a work permit at the Etihad last summer, and Pep Guardiola has expressed his disappointment at the outcome on a number of occasions. Although the Citizens have already added winger Ferran Torres and defender Nathan Ake to their squad, they have a hectic few months ahead and Luiz would certainly add some much needed depth to the squad. The former Girona loanee could be potentially swapping a relegation battle for a title challenge next season, and with City having a shorter pre-season than most Premier League sides, heavy rotation is to be expected, particularly over the festive period. Pep's men are the 11/10 favourites in the UEFA Champions League final odds, and although the midfielder is unlikely to get many minutes in Europe, he's proved more than capable in the English top flight.
Matt Targett is another successful addition to the squad, with the former Southampton man having played just shy of 2300 minutes for the Villains last season. He scored one goal and registered two assists throughout the course of the campaign, and is unlikely to be usurped from the starting XI anytime soon.
Anwar El Ghazi enjoyed a relatively productive twelve months after making his loan deal permanent, whilst Trezeguet was unquestionably the best of the rest. The Egyptian scored six times in total, with 50% of those goals coming in his final four games. It may have taken the 25-year old some time to settle in the Midlands, and he could potentially play a key role next season.
Mbwana Samatta showed glimpses of potential during the opening couple of months, however, his form dipped during the second half of the campaign. The Tanzanian striker ended the season with just a single goal in 946 minutes of Premier League football, and despite being linked with a move to Turkey, he looks set to remain at the club for at least another twelve months.
Jota crossed the second city to join Villa last summer, but the unpredictable Spaniard was rarely seen in the top flight, clocking up just 334 minutes. Bjorn Engels hasn't been the same player since November, and has looked a little injury prone, whilst Wesley showed flashes of brilliance, but will need to step it up next season.
Marvelous Nakamba was arguably the biggest disappointment with the 26-year old pressing the self-destruct button on a couple of occasions. Although he was unplayable against both Crewe and Norwich, he failed to score or register an assist, and the deep lying playmaker will have to improve if he wishes to keep his place in the side next year.
Marvelous Nakamba vs Crewe Alexandra (A):— Villa Analytics (@VillaAnalytics) August 28, 2019
Accurate Passes - 59
Pass Accuracy - 92.2%
Dribbles completed - 2
Dribble Success - 100%
Interceptions - 3
Possession Won - 12
Fouls - 0
Tackle Success - 100%
A marvellous performance to do his wonderful country proud ðŸ‡¿ðŸ‡¼ #AVFC pic.twitter.com/wcei0Xub3W
Villa desperately need to strengthen this summer, and if the hierarchy wish to avoid another nail-biting finale to the campaign, they must ensure that they make some solid additions in key areas. A few of last summer's signings may finally fulfil their potential whilst the recent departure of sporting director Jesus Garcia Pitarch could potentially prompt a change of direction recruitment-wise, however, the club must avoid making the same costly mistakes in order to start making progress in the Premier League.