Expect a few more transfers like ‘model signing’ John McGinn during this window.

Words by Alan Wilson | @VILLALan54


In their first post Play-Off Final interview, both Dean Smith and CEO Christian Purslow spoke of a ‘player model’ for Aston Villa, as they plan for a summer of recruitment which will change the team profile heading towards the Premier League in August.

Purslow was quick to thank former manager Steve Bruce for the signing of the indomitable John McGinn, who in his own words was the ‘perfect signing’ to fit in with Aston Villa’s new player profile.

He described John McGinn as being the right age, twenty-four, hungry, and holding great quality and a positivity that rubs off on the players around him.

Purslow intimated that this is the planned way forward for a new look Aston Villa, and without a doubt this senior recruitment team are looking to bring in players that will change the blue-print for Aston Villa’s side, as they prepare to lock horns with the best teams in the country.

One initiative has seen the club’s sporting director, Jesus Garcia Pitarch, engage the services of ex-Spain international and former Levante captain Juanfran García to scout for Aston Villa in Spain and Portugal.

Juanfran, who also played for Valencia, was “honoured” to be offered the scouting role at Aston Villa.

“Young, hungry, with good character and personality, with an ability to fit in with the other players in the dressing room quickly.”

– Dean Smith

The above quote was described as a pre-requisite by Dean Smith, and it has to be said that this will completely change the clubs ‘model’. Perhaps the days of signing older, more experienced players in the Twilight of their careers is over.

It will be a fascinating summer of coming and goings at Villa Park, with nine players already being released, but Aston Villa need to avoid the mistakes set by Fulham last season and Huddersfield the season before.

After their impressive late run and promotion via the Play-Offs last May, Fulham embarked on a £100,000,000 spending spree, bringing in no less than 9 new players, and effectively demoting or selling off the players who had won promotion for them. This ‘all change’ strategy backfired spectacularly – with the Cottagers being relegated back to the Sky Bet Championship after just one season in the top flight.

Huddersfield tried a very different strategy – buying only relatively unknown and low budget players – they managed to survive on a strong team spirit in their first season in the top flight, only to crash back into the Championship in their second year.

Nobody needs to be reminded of how tough it is to survive as a newly promoted team, in what is widely recognised as the most competitive league in the world.

Maybe Aston Villa should look at the blue-print of Midlands rivals Wolverhampton Wanderers. With a similar recruitment strategy, they have set up a strong scouting system across Europe, as well as agent links, and added quality players to the team that saw them promoted. This has seen them reap the rewards with a lofty 7th place finish.

Who knows what will happen at Villa Park this summer, but the anticipation is building already!

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