The Summer Signing That Sums Up Aston Villa’s Whole Situation

If/when Jack Grealish leaves the club this summer, it will rubber-stamp Aston Villa’s fall from grace, but when a club is stagnant in the Championship they should expect to lose their better players. Any Grealish transfer though will not necessarily be the summer transfer that symbolises Villa’s current financial plight…


The news that West Brom snagged the services of Sam Johnstone, Villa’s No.1 last season, will leave a bitter taste in the mouth of most Villa supporters. Not so much, that he went to a Midland’s rival, but the fact he’s now playing for another Championship side.

The prospect of Sam Johnstone extending his stay at Villa on a more permanent basis boiled down to Villa getting promotion. Failure to do so would probably mean that the former Manchester United keeper would be snapped up by a Premier League club.

sam johnstone aston villa

Most would accept that as the price of failure. However, if you were told that Johnstone would still be playing in the Championship next season, you’d have thought it would surely have to be for Villa, considering his time at Villa Park already.

There’s no doubt that his season-and-a-half on loan at Villa more than doubled his value, as he was regarded as one of the best keepers in the division.

West Brom are reported to have signed the 25-year-old for £6.5m (the four-year deal could potentially rise to £10m), when there was talk of Villa acquiring his services permanently it had been for a fee around £3m.

The fact Villa can’t beat fellow Championship clubs to the punch to players that they are already well acquainted with is a sad reflection of where the club is now.

Johnstone isn’t the only example.

Lost Striker

Ditto striker Lewis Grabban, who after a 20-goal season for Sunderland and Villa on loan, has been signed by Nottingham Forest from his parent club Bournemouth for around £6m.

Grabban finished the season as Villa’s number one striker and while Forest giving the 30-year-old such a long four-year deal is questionable business, in the short-term he will certainly add to the growing threat of Aitor Karanka’s new look Forest team. Throw in Hillal Soudani and the Benficia duo – the £13.2m midfielder, Joao Carvalho and loan signing, winger Diogo Goncalves – and you have a team that will now be aiming for the play-offs.

Whether Villa would have been interested in Grabban and would have outbid Forest, if they had the money, is another question. He remains one of the division’s top strikers though and perhaps was a better option than Jonathan Kodjia, in terms of getting more out of Villa as a team.

Confirmation of Outs

In Steve Bruce’s interview with Sky Sports while on Preseason training in Portugal, the Villa boss confirmed that there will be outgoings this summer and admitted that other clubs will take advantage of Villa being on its financial knees.

Bruce named Jack Grealish by name as the main concern and suggested clubs may wait until deadline day to snatch him on the cheap.

“Inevitably there is going to be player sales. There are going to be people that I do not want to sell – and the obvious one is Jack [Grealish] – but people will know that we have got financial problems and they’ll sit and wait, and wait, till Deadline Day possibly. I hope that doesn’t happen but we’ve got to baton down the hatches and wait for it.”


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  1. The talent was there last season but the tactics at times throughout the season was poor, hence the reason we only made the play offs. The manager should quit as he failed with arguably the best squad in the league, and the owner should sell up as it has shown he is not fit to run a business, ie Aston Villa, because you don’t gamble on something like promotion, because even a great club like Aston Villa does not have a divine right to promotion. If administration cleans the slate and we start all over again surely it’s better than all the lies and black clouds that have left a rotten smell around villa park in recent years. Villa supporters will support this great club come what may but don’t ask for honesty they DEMAND it. Villa till I die, I just hope the club doesn’t die before me

  2. I agree but it just goes from bad to worse personally I’m totaly teed off with hearing about it I think it’s time for the owner to put up or shut up or better still jog on, the whole thing is an utter disgrace and an insult to the fans, we might as well put pictures of the whole playing squad on eBay and flog the lot. And to think that the Dr led us to believe that he is a good business man, a joke all of it.

  3. Are we the next Portsmouth or Wigan. Looks that way. Tony needed more self belief, we were almost across the line. Fulham derserved their promotion, but we were too close to throw the towel in before the season starts. Selling the better players is doing just that.

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