With the signing of José Ángel Crespo and the seemingly imminent arrival of Emmanuel Adebayor, Aston Villa Football Club will be fielding a completely different team to the one we saw at the end of last season. All the new recruits seem promising in their different ways but they will have to work together or else Sherwood risks being left with more ‘dead wood’.
Thinking about Crespo, I do feel he is a challenger for the right back position. Either Hutton or Bacuna could fill that role and many Villa fans would be happy to see Sherwood leaving them out of the side. While Crespo may have enjoyed his best season in Spain in 2014-15, he played for Córdoba Club de Fútbol, the side that finished rock bottom of, and which was relegated from, La Liga, leaving some to question why Sherwood bought the Spanish defender. He is certainly versatile and having three players all competing for one position would surely mean that each player would want to do his best to earn, and retain, a starting spot.
José Ángel Crespo followed Scott Sinclair, Micah Richards, Mark Bunn, Jordan Amavi, Idrissa Gueye and Jordan Ayew to Villa Park and became Sherwood’s seventh recruit this summer, with Emmanuel Adebayor and Jordan Veretout potentially joining the club later in the week. It would therefore seem that Sherwood is on the verge of forming a brand new starting XI. It all seems exciting but, as with anything else, there is a down side. As we saw with QPR, a manager cannot just buy players and expect them to work well together. Rangers have suffered relegation twice due to this transfer plan and what’s to say that Aston Villa won’t fall into the same hole? Of course, I think Sherwood will have a better squad, with more exciting talent, but it still doesn’t mean the team will instantly gel. All Villa fans should expect a tough start to the season and it is vital that we stick with the team.
It’s not just the squad that is new at Villa. We also have a new design for AVTV, which includes HD, and have welcomed the club’s first ever sporting director, Hendrik Almstadt. Since he joined the payroll a month ago, Sherwood has been bringing in new signings at a virtually unprecedented rate. Nobody really knows whether Almstadt had an impact on these signings but the club certainly looks more professional now, which is possibly why so many players are willing to join Aston Villa.
With players coming in, Sherwood was also tasked with getting rid of players deemed surplus to requirements. Never before has the club shifted unwanted players so rapidly – and the clear out is not yet complete, with Charles N’Zogbia also reported to be on his way out. When you consider that Sherwood has brought in seven signings while saying farewell to Christian Benteke, Fabian Delph, Shay Given, Antonio Luna, Nicklas Helenius, Ron Vlaar, Yacouba Sylla, Matt Lowton, Andi Weimann, Darren Bent and Enda Stevens, you start to appreciate the huge rebuilding job the manager and his team are doing and how different things look with Tim and Tom at the helm.
I expect only a few more signings this summer but there can be no doubt that Aston Villa looks like a brand new club, with the same owner in charge, which is something few of us expected to see.