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Aside from the hearty pay rise that he received, the next thing Jack Grealish needed to know when he signed a new five-year contract with Aston Villa was, what’s the plan moving forward? What’s the ambition, if I stay? Who are we signing this window?
Of course, it’s not necessarily about the number of transfers, it’s more a case of quality. At this stage, it’s unlikely that Villa will break their wage structure, although the increase of Grealish’s wage, does give them room to pay a decent player more without upsetting their main man. That is, if the FFP side of things works out; something that Purslow has previously been keen to mention to downplay expectations.
While it could be argued that Villa have overpaid for their Championship players, as we said in a previous podcast, they only have themselves to blame for kick-starting the inflation in the division. Buying the likes of Ross McCormack, Jonathan Kodjia and Scott Hogan for circa £12m each (with Wolves then spending above that – but on quality). McCormack was the first Championship player to cost eight figures.
Are Watkins and Cash both marquee players? Perhaps not, although both look decent prospects and could develop into top Villa players.
Martinez is a calculated gamble. Back in June this year, he would have probably cost less than half of what Villa paid for him. Yet, he showed enough in the restart period to suggest Villa may have snagged themselves a top draw keeper in his prime.
Traoré is more of a wild card, but he potentially could give Villa a much sought after extra dimension. There maybe question marks about his consistency, but he could be an occasional match-winner.
So far, while Grealish and most rational Villa supporters will feel more optimistic with the new arrivals, but they’re not screaming that we’ll be challenging for Europe. Nor do they provide the kind of wanderlust that James Rodriguez has provided to lift the spirits of Everton fans.
So if Grealish was sold on ambition, then there surely will be at least one another potential first teamer through the doors before the end of the window.
There’s still hope (at least on Twitter) that Werder Bremen’s Milot Rashica will be added to Villa’s attacking options, although, if Villa rated him, or if another club did, wouldn’t that deal have been done by now?
There’s also the question of Wesley’s projected absence until the end of the year. Does ‘ambition’ mean we’ll get a replacement in, even if it’s just short-term? Or is getting Watkins in enough?
I think Mbwana Samatta’s position is key to this. At the moment, it doesn’t seem logical that the striker would leave the club so soon, as has been reported, unless Villa are actually planning an upgrade.
It’s certainly a ‘watch this space situation’ until the window closes in the first week in October. That maybe a clue to whether the ambition that was sold to Grealish was something to get excited about in the short-term or not.
Episode 115 Notes
Grealish’s New Contract Inspires Optimism and Hints at More Signings
Jack Grealish signed a new five-year contract, an event that the MOMS podcast had deemed the likely conclusion for months now, as long as Villa escaped relegation. We discuss the ramifications and the recent new signings that have also signed up to the Villa cause.
As well as talk of Villa cup and friendly victories, there’s discussion of a brutal ‘Le Classique’ and Emile Heskey’s new role in football.
‘Underrated or Overrated’ considers the ex-Villa talents of Michael Oakes and Steven Davis.
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David Michael – @oldmansaid
Chris Budd – @BUDD_music
Dan Rodgers – @avfc_vilr
My Old Man Said – https://myoldmansaid.com
Villa Underground – http://www.villaunderground.com
Editor/Producer – David Michael
Music – Philip Marten