It has been less than a month since the season has finished but I’m sure I speak for most when I say that it seems a great deal longer and that we are eagerly awaiting the return of Premier League football. However in previous season the summer has been dominated with managerial changes rather than the treats and delights that we have been served so far this month. Three signings and two contract renewals have all come our way since the final ball of the season was kicked and there is a cause for optimism and excitement as we now await the release of the fixtures on Wednesday 19th.
Alexander Tonev was the first signing of the summer, a player whose name had been floating around for some time and the Bulgarian joined following the influences of recently retired former skipper Stiliyan Petrov. This was then followed by Nathan Baker singing a new contract. The young English center back was rewarded for some promising performances last season with a new three year deal and will now be looking forward to the next season and one in which he can cement his place at the heart of Villa’s defence.
Next came one of the contract renewals that nearly all Villa fans were willing to happen, Andreas Weimann. The Austrian also penned a new three year deal and expressed his love for Aston Villa during his interview which can be seen on AVTV. Weimann feels that he owes something to Villa and described the club as a place where he feels at home, a feeling he has accumulated over his 6 years at Villa Park so far. All eyes will now turn to Christian Benteke and whether or not he will pledge his immediate future as well and the rumour’s are that a contract could be signed, sealed and delivered as early as next week so keep an eye out for that one.
Moving on from contracts and Villa have also secured the services of two young players who both have a vast of European experience for their ages. Firstly, Jores Okore has signed from Norwegian side Fc Nordsjælland after rejecting a move to Chelsea in favour of playing first team football, a statement that I’m sure all fans will love to see. He has signed for a reported £4million and has both champions league and international experience despite only being 20 years of age. The center back will now be looking to form a partnership with either Ron Vlaar or Nathan Baker, or who knows maybe even a back three!
Following on from Okore’s signing, Villa fans were given another treat as Leandro Bacuna, a 21 year old Dutch international, signed from Dutch side Groningen. The attacking midfielder can operate anywhere behind the striker, on the wing or also as a basic center midfielder and is certain to add a bit of steel and bite in the middle of the park alongside the likes of Westwood, Delph and Sylla and at only a reported £1million plus a few add ons, he could prove yet again another bargain buy for Paul Lambert.
So now as Villa fans across the globe await the arrival of the Premier League fixtures next Wednesday they now have the weekend to get over a busy summer so far, especially by Villa’s standards. If Benteke does sign his deal next week like it is being reported then we can finally start to shift some of the deadwood in the team and free up some more of the wage budget so that more young emerging talent can join the ranks and help to take Lamberts Lions to the next level.