The net spend debate


With the dust settling on the transfer window and the first month of the season, Villa fans have found a new topic to bicker about amongst themselves – the net spend on transfers this summer. Aston Villa Football Club’s net spend for the summer was £8.1 million, an amount that seems miniscule compared to the likes of Newcastle United with a net spend of £42 million.

Tim Sherwood made thirteen signings this transfer window, with twelve players leaving the club permanently. The transfer fees received for departing players varied greatly, from Benteke’s £32 million to only £1 million for Matthew Lowton. The income from the players sold amounted to £44.5 million.

With that £44.5 million, Tim Sherwood invested in new players to liven up a squad that was sleepwalking towards relegation. £52.6 million was spent on fresh blood, which was an incredible amount compared to recent seasons. The Villa faithful welcomed the spending spree this summer, although some still found reasons to moan.

Randy Lerner made it clear some time ago that he was tightening the purse strings. The Villa owner has slashed the budgets and cut back on his own input into club matters. The man the fans once loved has now become the butt of jokes due to his lack of attendance at Villa Park, which is perhaps not surprising given the ticket prices… Fans have expected Lerner to sell up for some time. Martin O’Neill had a lavish budget at Aston Villa – and he blew the majority of it. This must have served as a wake up call to Lerner, who has since become shrewder year on year. The drop in budgets showed, with the Villans dropping from the top six down to the foot of the table.

With the budgets cut, the standards on the field dropped dramatically. The club’s star assets leave fairly often. With the financial fair play system coming in, the issues of net spends and the selling of star assets have never been more pertinent. I believe that some fans have created a major issue out of very little this summer. The £8.1 million net spend is not much on paper but, when you look at the players brought in, it is clear that the new-look squad has quality in abundance.

Nevertheless, some fans claim Lerner has been stingy. Do you blame the man? He has sold the team’s star assets and reinvested the money earned. If he were planning to keep the club I would understand the frustration but he wants out. I do not have any issue with Lerner’s spending this summer. Fans claim that the side needed another striker. It was glaringly obvious. Do they honestly think that Tim Sherwood and his team didn’t try to bring in a new man? Of course he tried.

The new sponsorship deals may have brought millions to the club but Lerner has spent a lot of his own money on the club in the past. I agree that more could have been spent, given the Villans’ performances in recent seasons, but when the quality needed has been brought in why spend more?

The money generated by sponsorship deals is kept relatively quiet so nobody can be so sure on the exact figures at the moment. Lerner is adding assets to the club so that he will be able to sell it. The media would have us believe that he may have stopped actively seeking a new owner but nobody truly knows that this is the case. I fully support what Randy Lerner has done this summer. Investment was needed and he could have been far more stingy. Give credit where it is due. Some of the new signings are already impressing and they all have the potential to perform well under the right manager. Tim Sherwood has proven that he can deal with players so let him get to work. If this season brings another relegation battle, fans can then justifiably moan about the net spend.


  1. The amount spent is not important, it’s what you get for your money that counts. Sherwood’s net spend is less than Lambert’s yet the quality of what we have, even at this early stage, is in a different league to Lambert’s purchases. The fact that the net spend is low is down to the ability to find quality at value prices and it looks like we have done that across the entire squad.

  2. Lerner could have been stingier but then his £200+ million investment, for which he wants back circa £150m, according to rumours, would be worth very little if Villa drop into the Championship.

    Rock and a hard place! He might not want to invest but he has to preserve his capital value.

    You cannot compare Villa’s net spend to Newcastle’s over one transfer window as Ashley has recorded a profit in the last few windows.

    It would have been nice to have another striker. Personally, I would rather have bought in Austin than Ayew and Gestede and kept Robinson at Villa Park if we wanted an extra body/option.

  3. Net spend is a moot point! You cannot gauge a transfer window from this, it’s ridiculous to. The whole idea of finding a talented player and selling him on for huge profit is what clubs like Villa need to be doing. Villa aren’t going to win the league in decades and scenarios like Benteke will help build the club. I’m all for another Benteke. In fact a net spend in the minus figures would be good for the club providing the right players come in.

    Why do people gauge things on money? Because they’re stupid or lazy, that’s why. They need a figure to guide them on success or failure, because anything else is either too complex for them or simply too long a wait.

  4. I’m not sure why people are suddenly singing Lerners praises, nothing has changed. Although I agree with the comment that judging transfer activity on how much is spent is stupid, had we not sold our top players I’m sure it would have been the same story of past windows with having to scratch around for mediocre cast offs or lower league dross. I personally think the club has done good business especially coupled with the securing multiple players to long term deals. Time will tell how good the summer has been but the early signs are encouraging. I would though put this down to Sherwood, Fox & the rest of the back room rather than any great generosity from Lerner


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