In 2020, Aston Villa embarked on a brand-new recruitment strategy that saw them spend over £135 million on 12 players. This came shortly after enduring a relegation battle that saw them relegated from the Premier League during the 2015/16 season for the first time since 1987 after a successful 29-year run. The current season has seen them resume their expensive recruitment drive in a bid to make up for shoddy scouting and questionable transfers in the past. To find out what the expectations should be at Aston Villa with their expensive recruitment drive, continue reading.
An expensive history
In the years between 2010 and 2018, Aston Villa has reportedly spent over £240 million on transfer fees. This has led to them becoming known as one of the biggest spenders in the Premier League and a club that has achieved great success when it comes to attracting and retaining up-and-coming and established professional football players. In the past three years alone, Aston Villa have also completed their top five record-breaking transfer fees with Wesley signed for £22m in June 2019, Lucas Digne signed for £25m just last month in January 2022, Danny Ings signed for £25m rising to £30m in August 2021, Ollie Watkins signed for £28m rising to £33m in September 2020, Leon Bailey signed for £30m in August 2021, and Emiliano Buendía signed for £33m rising to £38m in June 2021.
The 2021/22 season
If their past performance is anything to go by, the current season is only expected to continue ramping up with 16-year-old striker Omari Kellyman set to join the club from Derby County for a compensation fee of £500,000 in the coming months and Calum Chambers one of the squad’s latest additions having made the move last month from Arsenal for a fee of £2m. If that wasn’t enough, they also splashed out on former Dundee United defender, Kerr Smith, in an £800,000 move that will also rise to £2m if certain first-term conditions are met. This has, however, excited long-time and recent fans of the club with ticket sales to upcoming matches selling at a rapid pace but available if you click here.
An international recruitment drive
In 2021, an opportunity for Aston Villa to tap into the largely unchartered territory of the US football market emerged with club co-chairman Wes Edens revealing an interest in forming an MLS team in Las Vegas. If Aston Villa are to continue on their current upwards trajectory by investing heavily in both homegrown and overseas talent, the squad may end up experiencing greater changes down the line.
This recruitment drive, coupled with the appointment of Steven Gerrard as the new head coach, puts Aston Villa on an ambitious path. Investment stabilises. In general, wage expenditure often correlates to league position. If you have the seventh highest wage bill, you will finish in around the seventh place. Though, of course, it’s not as simple as that. Gerrard, and the board, will be expecting and be under pressure to deliver top-half finishes this season and next, before investing further to push for European places. Aston Villa seems intent on being in Europe sooner rather than later.