After the stalemate over the weekend, any playoff hopes are all but over so we must turn our attentions to next season and how we can strengthen in the transfer market.
I would say that wholesale changes are the opposite of what is needed. For too long, Aston Villa Football Club has been a revolving door for new players. A mass exodus of players took place in the January transfer window and thus the summer should be for adding quality rather than quantity. So where should Dr Tony Xia and Steve Bruce look to strengthen?
Thus, I am resoundingly confident in saying that we will play our football in the Championship next season. With that in mind, we need to go from a mid-table side to a team that can take the league by storm.
Irrespective of whether we sign Sam Johnstone or not on a permanent deal, we still need a keeper. This is because Pierluigi Gollini will still be on his eighteen-month loan in Italy, whilst Mark Bunn’s contract terminates at the end of our current campaign and I highly doubt he will get it renewed.
Thus, signing a keeper will be imperative and I feel bringing in a keeper with experience is pivotal. Johnstone is twenty-four years old, which is a tender age for a goalkeeper. Therefore, bringing in someone with experience will not only help Johnstone but also our upcoming keepers such as Matija Starkic.
This is a position that I don’t feel is a complete necessity for us to strengthen, but signing backup for Chester and Baker would be beneficial. Injury has been an underlying problem for Baker in his career, and hence it is critical we have sufficient backup in what is one of the most important positions on the pitch.
The future of Tommy Elphick is uncertain and I would understand if he wanted to leave the club with a sparse amount of first-team opportunities in recent months.
Cover for Jedinak
Jedinak is the best ball winning midfielder in the Championship. Arguably one of our most influential players, yet what worries me is our lack of depth in this position. The fact that we haven’t won a single game when he hasn’t played shows his undeniable effect on the team.
Keeping him fit and fresh is crucial and thus we need someone who can sit in front of the defence in his absence, whether that’s because of injury or because we can rest him. Perhaps Aaron Tshibola can have an influencing role their next season, but it is definitely an area that we should look into.
Our attack is an interesting one. We have the players in our ranks to score willingly at this level. The likes of Conor Hourihane, Henri Lansbury, Albert Adomah, Andre Green, Jack Grealish, Jonathan Kodjia and Scott Hogan should be able to run riot in this league and score freely. Yet, we have seen in recent weeks an over-reliance on Kodjia, which slightly worries me.
Strengthening the attack is something we should look into but approach with caution as I would not want it to hamper any potential to the development of Green and Grealish, whilst not damaging an embryonic partnership between Kodjia and Hogan.
All in all, as this season peters out, I’m sure we will have identified potential targets for the summer transfer window already. Adding two or three players of real quality should be the target so that we can assemble a squad ready to take the league by storm next season.