The quiet transfer window continues for Aston Villa with even credible rumours starting to drying up. Di Matteo seems relaxed and Dr Xia is tweeting away like a school boy who stole his mum’s phone, so should the fans stop worrying too?
Unfortunately, a fear is now growing amongst fans that the rest of this window could be another January: expecting a host of incomings and getting absolutely nothing. It seems unthinkable that we will wake up on September 1st without at the very least a new striker ‘with bullets loaded’.
Perhaps we’re just used to disappointment, but with the start of the season just a few days away any new signings seem a million miles away. I think we have to accept that this current squad will start the season. Even if a striker comes in tomorrow he may struggle to earn a starting spot having spent very little time with the squad.
Can this current bunch pick up points?
I think so, yes. There is still no doubt in my mind that we have a top 6 Championship side, even without any more signings. Very few teams in this league can boast players like Ayew, Grealish and Amavi. Couple those talents with players that have previously excelled in this league like Baker, Gardner, Gestede, Elphick and Tshibola, and we have the makings of a very competitive team at this level.
We obviously have some glaring gaps, most obviously upfront, but we still have the quality to beat teams like Sheffield Wednesday. Most fans want to see our young player get a chance this season, but if we bring in five or six new players, the likes of Lyden, Toner, Hepburn-Murphy and Green will struggle to be involved.
Same old Villa
We looked very strong in the first half of our final friendly against Middlesbrough, playing good passing football. After the break however the old Villa of last season was in full view. Sloppy and disorganised at the back and toothless upfront.
There is plenty for Di Matteo to work on after that game, but also some encouraging signs. Gardner looked composed and positive after a shaky start, and Grealish and Ayew both looked to take on defenders and make things happen.
Should we be panicking?
No I don’t think so. My gut feeling is we won’t see as many incomings as most fans would like, but I do expect at least a striker and a new creative midfield to come in.
Whether that’s McCormack and Morrison only time will tell, but they would certainly help us reach another level. Personally I’d also like to see a new right back come in, and with the departure of Gueye imminent, more quality competition in central midfield could be needed.
Let’s not forget that the Championship season is a long one, and things can change at any point. There will be plenty of ups and downs, and although a fast start would be huge for the confidence of the team and fans, if getting the right players means waiting until later in the window, then that could ultimately help us finish where we need to come May.