Danny Ings joins West Ham as Emery starts to shape his squad

Unai Emery has taken control of Aston Villa for six Premier League games (and two cup games), picking up thirteen points from a possible eighteen.

The Basque manager’s approach has been different to those before him, particularly Steven Gerrard. The former Rangers boss was quick to criticise his playing staff and blame them for the poor results despite promising clean slates when he was appointed. There was a constant call for new faces which hardly breeds confidence.

“As I’ve said in previous press conferences if things go our way we could have one or two new faces in. It’s not as straightforward as people think,” he stated at the end of August last year.

Unai Emery has a very different approach. Often talks up players and explains how they are learning and adapting to his way of playing. Two different styles of management and I know which one I prefer.

But that doesn’t mean he won’t want to shape the squad to his playing style and it has begun.

Changes inevitable

For Villa to push on to the next level, on top of an improvement in coaching at Bodymoor Heath, changes were always inevitable.

Emery has a way of playing and as he has explained more than once, he requires different profiles in positions. He won’t make signings because of their name but only if they improve the first team.

“I am so happy with players we have, but someone could leave and someone could I think can add to help us. We are working, we are moving in the direction to try to really add someone or add players who could help us improve our performance, including to be ready in the squad, help us be clear, good players, good performance and trying to be together for the way we want to play.”

Under Emery’s leadership, Villa have already completed the signing of Álex Moreno, while Jhon Durán is all but done (work permit and personal terms pending).

There will also be departures. Some obvious ones and some surprises.

The prime example is Danny Ings.

Danny Ings signs for West Ham

West Ham announced the £ 12 million (rising to £ 15 million) signing of Danny Ings today who turns 31 in July and had just 18 months left on his Aston Villa career.

Ings has been the model professional during his short spell at Villa Park despite not starting as many games as he probably would have liked.

When rumours started to circle at the beginning of the month, I could see the logic in Ings departing but I must admit I didn’t think it would happen until the summer. I guess the club felt the deal was too good to turn down which is understandable.

He won’t be the only one though. As I have already mentioned, I think others will follow. I can’t imagine many other surprises this window unless a very good deal pops up but I would imagine a fair few departures in the summer. Matty Cash and Lucas Digne’s names have been mentioned by certain people within the press.

Three more players can leave

Emery has also made it clear that he has told three other members of the first team squad that they can leave, should they be able to find a new home.

“In other positions as well we are speaking about how we can improve, some players like (Marvelous) Nakamba, I told him to leave,” he said in his pre-match press conference yesterday.

“(Morgan) Sanson as well is in the possibility to leave, but Sanson for me is a very good player, he understands very good how we want to play and he has the skill to do it, but he has to play in a team to be consistent, trying to play more and here it’s difficult to give him it – he is as well finding something to leave.

“If they are leaving – Nakamba, Sanson, maybe we try to add one player more inside, inside midfielder. It’s not clear about this possibility because I want to sign one player (who will) improve the quality of the squad.”

With the arrival of Moreno, it is no real surprise that Emery has also told Ludwig Augustinsson that his loan will be cut short this month. I imagine, once Digne has recovered from a shoulder injury, he will be sent back to his parent club, Sevilla.


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