Summer has barely begun, but it’s always fun to talk transfers. Last year, we were treated to something that we’ve not necessarily become accustomed to. We signed a lot of very good players, proven in the league that we found ourselves in. In the same window, we got rid of a lot of old players. The question now is, does the squad have enough depth?
These were players that the fans associated with one of the worst seasons in Premier League history. Brad Guzan, Joleon Lescott and others were shown the door and were happily waved off by Villa fans who had seen enough of them. This, after all, was undoubtedly the right thing to do. We had to gut the team and bring in a totally new set, players who the fans were ready to get behind.
In doing that though, I think we found ourselves slightly short staffed at times last season. Newcastle had some players who were far too good for the Championship coming off the bench. We, for a lot of the year, had unproven youngsters and ageing non-impact players in our squad. To be right up there in this division, and accommodate for eventual injuries, you need to have players who are good enough to start sitting on the bench and competing for places.
One position which, for example, we could maybe do with a little more help in is in the heart of our defence. Nathan Baker and James Chester are a good pairing but, after Elphick had a promising start, he was slightly disappointing. Another good centre back would help our team massively next season.
In the centre of midfield, too, help may be needed. Starting Leandro Bacuna in the centre of midfield never sits well with me and that was the reality at the back end of this year. Jedinak had a great year, Hourihane and Lansbury should find their feet, adding another quality midfielder to the mix would be very exciting for the fans.
I do believe that we have depth in some areas but by picking key positions and picking up talent in those areas, we will look a more well-rounded squad. Having a good bench unit is vital to a successful season in the Championship. This doesn’t mean that we have to go out and spend £10m plus on a player, but I don’t think we should rest on our laurels. There is a lot of time for Bruce and his staff to think about potential signings and it will be interesting to see where we choose to strengthen.
One thing is for sure: there will be no mass exodus as there was last year. There doesn’t need to be. Instead, lets back the players we already have and look forward to the new signings that come in. The only players who need moving on now are the deadwood within the squad.