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From the dour and Paul Lambert in the dugout to poor ownership and frittering away crazy money on badly scouted ‘talent’, Aston Villa’s regression from a Premier League regular to a second-season Championship club was a long time coming.
Looking back, the events of summer 2015 were the major catalyst for their demise when the club decided to do what most clubs do when they have one or two valuable assets – and it’s always a mistake.
They sold their two big-hitters Christian Benteke (to Liverpool for £32.5m) and Fabian Delph (to Manchester City for £8m) and used the money to buy lots of new players in order to remodel their squad. In football, quality is always better than quantity. So, were the players they who were brought in actually any good? Here’s who they are and where they are now:
The striker arrived from Lorient for almost £10.8million in July and frankly, he was not a replacement for Benteke. Ayew moved to Swansea City in January of this year and as of this season, has 1 goal 16 Premier League appearances.
Another signing from France; left-back Amavi arrived from Nice in a £9.9million move but has since gone back to his homeland and is currently on loan at Marseille, and is due back next summer.
A £9million signing; much was expected of Traore when he arrived from Barcelona but his lack of vision and a finish was a letdown, though what he needed were education and time. He is now in the same league as Villa, although he is playing for Middlesbrough instead after a £7.43million move in 2016.
There were high hopes for the midfielder after he arrived for £9million from Nantes, however, he is another player who failed to impress in the Premier League. After a loan at Saint-Etienne, he is now permanently at Fiorentina in Italy having signed for £6.3million.
Another highly regarded central midfielder, Gueye was brought in from Lille for £8.1million but moved to Everton for a slight loss, one year later after relegation.
A £7.65million signing from Blackburn, Gestede was sold for, you guessed it, a loss, after relegation, to Middlesbrough, though he’s now in the Championship himself.
Having not made it at Man City, Sinclair did okay in parts at Villa after a £3.15million move. He is now playing for Celtic and is regarded as one of the better players in the Scottish Premiership, though frankly, that’s not saying a lot.
Taking players on the slide is never a good move, so when Lescott arrived for £1.26million from West Brom was bound to go wrong. He is now a free agent.
A £630k signing from Cordoba, he now plies his trade at PAOK Salonika after a free transfer.
Villa had to pay a £315k to Liverpool for his services and he has since signed for Reading.
For Richards, read Lescott. On the way down and signing from Man City for free. He’s still at the club.
The ‘keeper arrived on a free from Norwich and is still at Villa Park now.