As the new season draws ever closer, I believe Aston Villa has never looked more prosperous.

With the Jack Grealish saga, FINALLY, put to bed and less than a week to go until the new season begins with a trip away to Vicarage Road to face Watford, Villa fans should be extremely excited about the future of this great football club.

The last few months have been eventful, to say the least, with plenty going on behind the scenes. Pre-season kicked off with a match against Walsall followed by games against Stoke City, Bristol City and, most recently, Salernitana. On top of this, the recruitment team have had their fingers on the pulse behind the scenes looking for new talent to enhance both the first team and youth teams.

Things were not helped by the constant speculation surrounding then-captain Grealish. The tedious, drawn-out saga had the Villa faithful at their wit’s end right up until he eventually made his £100million move to Manchester City.

Now that the dust has settled, I firmly believe that, despite much doom and gloom over the past several weeks, the club is in its best position in recent history. I am very excited for the season ahead, and here’s why you should be too:

Onwards and Upwards

Now I, as I’m sure many of you are, am sick of hearing about Grealish and that’s why I’m not going to dwell on it for long, however, it cannot be ignored. While it has been a stressful few weeks, capped off by the disappointing departure of our former captain, it has given the club a financial platform to work with in order to make the team stronger in the long run.

Losing such an important figure in the dressing room is never good for any club, yet the cash injection following the transfer will give Villa a healthy budget for future signings. It is important to realise that the money the club has received has so far been used to make the TEAM better, as opposed to relying on 1 individual, which has been the case for far too long at Aston Villa.

CEO Christian Purslow addressed the fans following the departure of Grealish and he mentioned how the recruitment team dissected the qualities of the former Villa winger and sought to replace him with 3 players that fitted such criteria. This is evident by the signings of Emiliano Buendia, Leon Bailey and Danny Ings who all bring a multitude of attacking flair and talent that has been lacking in recent seasons. Danny Ings’ finishing and fox-in-the-box ability, coupled with Buendia’s creativity and eye for a pass and Bailey’s explosive forward runs will leave opposition defences shaking in their boots.

It remains to be seen whether the recruitment team have any other aces up their sleeves but despite this, the current crop of players, coupled with the array of new additions, is much stronger than in previous seasons and, under the management of Dean Smith, will only get better.

A breakthrough season for some

Pre-season has given the coaches, as well as the fans, the opportunity to pick out the players they feel are staking a claim for a starting spot in the first team. With several youth team players including Louie Barry, Kaine Hayden and Seb Revan heading out on loan, focus shifts to those who remain at the club and, in particular, those who can play a big part in launching Villa up the table.

Carney Chukwuemeka is a reason to be optimistic

Two young players who have regularly featured in pre-season are the highly-rated 18-year-old Carney Chukwuemeka and 19-year-old Jaden Philogene-Bidace. Both have featured in all of Villa’s pre-season matches with Philogene-Bidace netting twice and catching the eyes of many supporters. Chukwuemeka has also given Smith food for thought as he has put in several stellar performances, consolidating his cameos against Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea at the tail-end of last season.

These 2 young lads are definitely worth keeping an eye on and I believe they will exceed the expectations of many. I expect we will look back at the end of the season to find that they have chipped in with several vital goals and assists, important in helping the team reach its goal.

The club’s in good hands

Most importantly of all, it is crucial to remember that the club is in good hands. From top-to-bottom, the club is run much more professionally than it was 5 years ago. Under the stewardship of NSWE, the club will continue to thrive in the upper echelons of English football and with the club’s ambitions to be competing at the highest level of European football, it can only get better.

The transformation of the club in recent years has been nothing short of astounding. Nassef, Wes, Christian, Johan, Dean and his team all deserve massive credit for getting the club back to where it is today. The club’s communication with fans following the sale of Jack Grealish just goes to show how well the club is run. Things are heading in the right direction, and I believe this club has an incredibly exciting future. The sky’s the limit, so sit back and enjoy the ride.

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