The 2019/20 summer transfer window has concluded for Aston Villa, cementing the club’s squad until New Year’s Day.
Fresh into the Premier League himself, Dean Smith’s men return from the summer break with a rejuvenated squad he feels is ready to tackle the elite. A total of 12 first-team players were released on 1st July 2019, some such as Mile Jedinak and Albert Adomah being key features of the team in the Championship. Villa conducted smart business from the beginning – Making signings as early as possible to let the team gel, plugging key gaps, lowering the average age of the squad and on the whole avoiding extortionate transfer deals. Overall, 12 new players joined up with the Villa squad ahead of the Premier League season – Here is the breakdown of each deal, with an overall rating of each.
1. Jota, Birmingham City – £2 million + Gary Gardner
Villa’s first addition to the squad was 28-year-old Spanish winger Jota from the other side of the city, who starred for Dean Smith’s Brentford. It was clear from the beginning that he was an Albert Adomah replacement – An experienced winger who would feature irregularly. Signing a decent player for a small price – Only for cover too – was a piece of smart business from Villa.
Deal Rating: 7
2. Anwar El Ghazi, LOSC Lille – £8 million
A few short days from the Jota deal, Aston Villa triggered the option to buy in their loan deal for former Ajax prospect Anwar El Ghazi. The Dutchman signed for an undisclosed fee believed to be in the region of £5 million. While there are questions as to his consistency on the left in the upcoming season, he was a crucial cog of Villa’s success at the end of last season and so his addition for a small fee was wise.
Deal Rating: 7.5
3. Wesley, Club Brugge – £22 million
Filling in the shoes of 26-goal Tammy Abraham is a steep prospect for the inexperienced Brazilian Wesley. Signed from Club Brugge, where he achieved only 10 goals in the league last season, Wesley is a massive risk. His physical attributes put him in good stead, but whether his technical ability and inexperience will be exposed in the Premier League remains to be seen. Villa needed a reliable striker, really, and Wesley is not that; a high risk, high reward signing. It is hard to place how good of a pickup Wesley was because of this.
Deal Rating: 6
4. Kortney Hause, Wolves – £3 million
Another of last season’s heroes, flexible defender Kortney Hause signed on the 17th June for the small fee of £3 million. For a 23-year-old English centre-back who had a good second half of last season for Villa, it was a great deal. It gave the club depth in the left and centre-back positions for a low price – And kept one of the faces from the playoff run at the club.
Deal Rating: 7.5
5. Matt Targett, Southampton – £11.5 million rising to £17 million in add-ons
On the opening day of the busy month of July, 23-year-old left-back Matt Targett joined up with Aston Villa. This is an excellent signing – Villa needed someone in that position, and he has some Premier League experience, remains young, likes to play attacking football, and pushes forward. In Targett, Smith sees a long-term left-back option he can develop, and in time this fee will be seen as a bargain.
Deal Rating: 8
6. Tyrone Mings, Bournemouth – £20 million rising to £26.5 million in add-ons
The one we were all waiting for; Tyrone Mings penned a deal for a hefty fee a week after Targett joined. An integral feature of our promotion push, Villa knew Mings was vital in our hopes of staying up in 2019/20, so Bournemouth were able to charge an excessive fee and the club rightly bit the bullet. The passionate, hard-working, sublime Tyrone Mings has only just started his Villa career.
Deal Rating: 9.5
7. Ezri Konsa, Brentford – £12 million
Villa signed a third centre-back a few days after Mings, with highly rated Brentford and England U21 player Ezri Konsa joining. For a small fee of £12 million, considering his age, nationality and relative experience, Konsa was an excellent signing. He knows Smith, plays out from the back, and if a big club comes calling in the future he will be of great profit for Aston Villa.
Deal Rating: 8
8. Bjorn Engels, Stade de Reims – £9 million
The 6’4 set-piece danger Bjorn Engels, a former teammate of Wesley at Club Brugge, signed for Villa to be their fourth centre-back signing of the summer. A proponent of playing out from the back, this was an excellent addition. We now have five total centre-backs, giving us the chance to play a 352 or 343 formation, and if we stick to 433 we have at least two centre-backs on either side. At 24 years old also, he provides a bit more experience but is still very young – Fitting the mould of players Villa sign under Suso and Smith. It’s a shame though that none of our four main centre-backs have any real Premier League experience.
Deal Rating: 7
9. Trezeguet, Kasimpasa – £8.75 million + undisclosed addons
The 24-year-old Egyptian Trezeguet joined Villa with much excitement amidst tons of speculation. After two good seasons at Kasimpasa, and a team-of-the-tournament performance at AFCON whilst captained by now fellow Villan Ahmed Elmohamady, many fans are excited. He’s a direct winger who dribbles very well and creates goals – But can he do it in the Premier League? This remains to be seen. In today’s market though, the fee is very good for a well-performing young player, and in a position we need Trezeguet will prove important in Villa’s fortunes this season.
Deal Rating: 6.5
10. Douglas Luiz, Manchester City – £15 million + unknown buy-back clause
Arguably the most exciting signing of the window, just a few short days after Trezeguet signed Villa acquired the 21-year-old Brazilian midfielder Douglas Luiz. The energetic, youthful player is highly rated by Pep Guardiola, who has been frustrated at his club’s inability to get Luiz a work permit. Luiz is a player sublime at leading in midfield and bringing the ball out from the back, someone we need between Grealish and McGinn. The only caveat with the deal is the buy-back clause that City could use to bring him back – But with the fee almost definite to exceed the £15 million we paid for him, it’s a win-win situation for both clubs.
Deal Rating: 9.5
11. Tom Heaton, Burnley – £8 million rising to £8.5 million in addons
A deal that seemed to move along quietly throughout the window, on the opening day of August Villa landed experienced Burnley goalkeeper Tom Heaton. Widely credited with keeping the Clarets up in the 2016/17 season, the experienced goalkeeper was met with enthusiasm from Villa fans. He’s been around the block, got bags of quality, and is a commanding goalkeeper from the back. The fee is slightly high perhaps considering his age and how he only has one year left on his contract, but the 33-year-old is an excellent acquisition nonetheless.
Deal Rating: 9
12. Marvelous Nakamba, Club Brugge – £11 million
On the same day as Heaton, long-term target Marvelous Nakamba finalised his move to Villa Park. A tenacious midfielder who gets stuck in, the Zimbabwean international is the most defensive-minded midfielder at the club. For that reason, he’s a good signing – His unique position makes him a valuable asset in games that we are forced to focus more on defending. He is young, desperate to prove himself, and for a decent fee is a solid piece of business by Villa.
Deal Rating: 7
This summer window was excellent by Aston Villa. We brought a lot of young, hungry players in eager to compete for their place, maintained a core of last season’s side with Grealish, McGinn, Mings, El Ghazi, Hause and more staying on, and injected much-needed quality into the side. There are unproven elements in Trezeguet and Wesley, and squad gelling will prove to be an issue, but overall Villa have invested well, invested early and had an excellent transfer window. I’d give the window a 7.5/10, limited by a lack of use of the loan market and a shortage of goals. Certainly the best window we’ve had in many years – And not “a Fulham”.