Aston Villa have been one of the highest net spenders of all European clubs in the past three seasons, surpassing La Liga’s Real Madrid, the Bundesliga’s Bayern Munich, and EPL counterparts Manchester United. That’s a surprising stat considering how they have fared within that time.
The club is co-owned by Wes Edens and Nassef Sawiris, billionaire businessmen who haven’t held back on splashing the cash as needed. The club chucked out over £80 million on talents like Leon Bailey, Danny Ings, and Emi Buendia in the just-concluded season.
While the recruitment cost could easily be balanced by the £100 million Manchester City splashed to recruit the services of Villa talisman, Jack Grealish, the club remains within the top three net spenders of the past three seasons.
Looking back into the past five seasons, Aston Villa still emerges within the top five net spenders.
Current transfer window
These financial statistics have barely held Aston Villa from going after players to improve the squad. Last season alone, the club broke their transfer record, splashing £34 million for the signature of Norwich City midfielder Emiliano Buendia. Despite other recruitments in attack, including loaning Barcelona outcast Philippe Coutinho, the club finished in 14th place, a dismal 10 points above the drop zone.
Steven Gerrard, looks set to turn things around in the summer transfer window, and the owners aren’t holding tight to their purse strings. As such, Aston Villa has shot into the transfer market guns blazing, snapping up three new players: former Sevilla man Diego Carlos for £26 million; Philippe Coutinho for £21 million; and former Marseille midfielder Boubacar Kamara, on a free transfer.
Gerrard still wants more, although it is reported he wants more options in midfield, it is unclear where he will splash the cash.
Is the top six possible?
Aston Villa’s transfers and managerial change show that the club intends to play competitive football and challenge for titles. However, they aren’t quite top-six material yet. The EPL’s big six are still a force to reckon with, despite shaky or dismal starts in recent seasons. Arsenal and Tottenham, for instance, rose from the second half of the table to qualify for the Europa and Champions League, respectively. Despite managerial and backroom issues, even Manchester United just about managed to drag themselves into the top six. Not to mention the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo, which saw many fans and neutrals clamour for Premier League tickets to see him in the flesh. The club had been experiencing dwindling ticket sales prior. But after his unveiling, ticket prices rose to over £700 on third-party sites for his first game against Newcastle.
Other clubs like Chelsea, Liverpool, and Manchester City regularly fired on all cylinders and contended for the top spot.
Aston Villa doesn’t have the attacking edge to outpace these clubs, with forwards Danny Ings and Ollie Watkins largely underwhelming in the just-concluded season. Pairing the duo also seemed to be a head-scratcher for the coach. And considering their injury susceptibilities, they aren’t the best attacking options to target the top six. Instead, they can target a respectable finish inside the top half, battling the likes of Leicester, Wolves, West Ham, and Brighton and Hove Albion for a spot below the big six.