The January Transfer That Killed Off Aston Villa’s Play-off Hopes?

Number One Target

How many minutes of your life were wasted reading the perpetual ‘Jordan Rhodes to Aston Villa’ transfer link stories during last month?

Yes, Steve Bruce admitted he had tried to get the Middlesbrough striker in earlier in the window by offering a fee reported to be around £6m, there was more than likely also an attempt to secure the striker on loan too.

Middlesbrough though were always looking for a fee around the £10m mark to recoup their own £11m spend on the forward, who has found first team football hard to come by since his move from Blackburn Rovers.

There was also the feeling that maybe Jordan Rhodes didn’t fancy a move back to the Championship, but as MOMS predicted earlier in January, the Scottish international’s fate was more than likely going to be decided on the last day of the transfer window.

Bruce suggested he offered what he thought was the value of the striker, yet fast-forward to the end of the window and Villa spent closer to the price Boro desired on Brentford’s Scott Hogan (reported to be £9m plus £3m add-ons). Hogan had been on route to West Ham until the Hammers suddenly got cold feet.

If Villa were willing to spend this much on Hogan – who still carries doubts from his past serious knee injuries – then they must have tried an improved bid for Rhodes?

As we now know, Rhodes turned out not to be reticent about a return to the Championship as he moved Sheffield Wednesday. Initially on a loan with a view to a £10m permanent move at the end of the season. By turning their attention to Hogan, Villa would have known that their direct play-off rival, who had been in the frame for Rhodes signature for a while too, would potentially swoop.

Such a move is a hammer blow to Villa’s faint play-off hopes as we discussed in more detail on the latest MOMS podcast episode:



Play-off Competition

If there was any chance of Villa going on a run to reach the play-offs they would have to peg back Derby and Sheffield Wednesday to get the sixth spot, as the rest of the teams are now seemingly out of reach, Huddersfield in fifth place are currently 16 points above Villa.

Despite a winless January seriously damaging Villa’s play-off credentials, there was a flicker of hope.

Now though, the striker Villa were hoping would fire them onto the kind of run that would give them a chance of reaching the playoffs, now plays for a team they were hoping to catch. The impact of this has already been felt.

In his first game for Wednesday, Rhodes provided the assist for the winner away at Wigan to put the Owls 13 points above Villa.

Part of the Rhodes deal to Villa not coming off may have been down to the striker’s reluctance to spend too long in the Championship, thus seeing the reality of Villa remaining in the division next season. Certainly he was buoyant about the chance of returning Wednesday back to the top tier.

“I’m hopefully coming here to help and get the collective aim which is to get the club out of the league,” said Rhodes, after signing.

“If this club can get to the Premier League, where I think it belongs, it will be fantastic for the area.”

It’s interesting to see how transfers can impact more than one club and here, where Rhodes is concerned, the reality is it’s pretty much put the final nail in Villa’s remaining dreams of a play-off spot this season.

We can only hope that the man Villa turned to as an alternative, can fire the club into the automatic promotion spots next season.


Follow MOMS on Twitter by clicking here @oldmansaid


  1. Weakest link was Johnson, and no Jedi, as for Bambi Grealish
    Showing why he’s a luxury bench now

  2. Well if our season starts today it started with a defeat, I think we had better stop talking about top six and start concentrating on staying in the division, were nearer the bottom three than the top six, sorry but Bruce hasn’t a clue and may well take us down. I wonder what excuses we will get this time.

  3. Hogans a much better prospect than Rhodes. He’s younger, faster, bigger and stronger. Will score goals for us imo. Let’s face it, no premier club was after Rhodes but Palace, Albion and West Ham wanted Hogan because he’s a better player

      • Article is not a Hogan vs Rhodes article. I prefer Hogan. The point is Sheff Wed got a player that should potentially fire them into the play-offs and potentially sealing off that 6th spot.

  4. personally when we went in for rhodes i thought another player in the mccormack style and as a proven goal scorer i thought great,,,, but i wished for hogan,,, his movement is fantastic and finishing is exceptional

    so i am very very happy to have got him,, we just need to supply him with the passes to put him through and with hurihane and lansbury we have the players to do it

    we might get a draw at forest,, but our season starts again today,,, and it will take time to get the best from this side,,, but i just have a sneaky feeling our luck is about to change

  5. I think that the club should have signed Rhodes, said so many times, I hope it doesn’t come back to bite us. As for Hogan hasn’t played for us yet so can’t make a judgement hoping he hits the ground running. Today would be ideal to make a big impression because after all the money spent its really a must win game for all concerned especially after the Brentford shambles, let’s hope Bruce can get his team selection right for a change.
    I see that the pundits and bookies reckon we will get beat.

  6. But was Rhodes Bruces 1st choice striker ? Or could it be that in fact Hogan occupied that position but the club thought the deal was not possible until Wet spam pulled out of a deal to sign him ? The real question is whether Hogan can produce the goods for Villa & whether Rhodes will do so for our rivals

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