Deadline day was as dramatic as always this year but, for once, we were right in the thick of things, signing two players permanently, getting another one on loan and reportedly attempting to sign at least two others. So, who are the newest arrivals?
Villa fan Joleon Lescott moved to B6 from West Bromwich Albion. We all know Lescott through following Premier League football in recent years, when we saw him spend five years at mega-rich Manchester City between 2009 and 2014, winning two Premier League titles, an FA Cup and a League Cup. The former England international, who has twenty-six caps, is a well-known and proven defender. A big, strong centre half, Lescott may be exactly what we need at the back alongside his good friend Micah Richards. Richards still has his pace so he can be the one rushing back in the event of our defensive line going too high and the opposition taking advantage, while Lescott can be the one winning the battles in the air. It seems like a great partnership and Lescott is a player many Villa fans will welcome, especially as £1 million is a bargain for a player of such quality.
Like many Villa fans, I had never heard of Matija Sarkic but he is an eighteen-year-old goalkeeper who is in the under 21 squad for Montenegro. Although experience is something he clearly doesn’t have, Sarkic is apparently highly rated. My opinions on Brad Guzan, a player I believe is not good enough to be the number one in a Premier League side, mean that I wanted Sherwood to sign a top keeper to go straight into our starting line-up. However, Sarkic seems like a decent acquisition and his arrival suggests that Sherwood is looking ahead, as we all know, and can appreciate, that Sarkic is one for the future, having signed a three-year deal.
That was it in terms of permanent signings but we did get one more new face in – Tiago Ilori. The twenty-two-year-old defender has joined us on a season-long loan from Liverpool. Considering that the Merseysiders paid £7 million for him in 2013, he should be good. Ilori has represented Portugal at youth level and plays mostly at centre-back. However, he is versatile so he will be a good addition to our squad. Depending on the number of appearances, Sherwood may get the option to sign him permanently at the end of the season for £9 million. Liverpool fans aren’t too happy about this move and seem to think that the only positive is that their club will make a profit if Ilori does join us on a permanent basis next year.
As well as the three that he did get on deadline day, it seems that Sherwood wanted to sign at least two others. It was widely reported that former Manchester United striker Dimitar Berbatov was in negotiations with the Villans, who failed to sign him. He has since signed for Greek side PAOK. Did we really need the Bulgarian, who is surely past his best? Our squad seems to have enough attacking personnel and Berbatov seemingly wanted to be paid handsomely. Sherwood also wanted young striker Dwight Gayle. According to Sky Sports, we did make a formal bid, which was turned down by his club, Crystal Palace, as it was deemed to be derisory. After that, it appears that Sherwood gave up on Gayle.
Our deadline day signings will now join the other players Sherwood and his team signed throughout the transfer window. The 2015-16 squad has a lot of new faces in it but, hopefully, it won’t take the new arrivals too long to get used to playing with one another and we can see a marked improvement from previous seasons sooner rather than later.