A couple of days have passed since the capture of Ezri Konsa was announced on the official channels. The 21-year-old centre-half signed from Dean Smith’s former club Brentford for a fee purported to be around £12m.
The England U21 international has bags of potential (as the highlights reel I’ve shared from Scouting Football shows) and I guess that’s the reasoning for the fee being relatively hefty for someone whose only played a single season in the second tier (and two seasons in League One with Charlton Athletic).
Konsa is very cool and composed on the ball, but as is usually the case with youth there is a little naivety in his game which will need to be worked on. He has a habit of being drawn to the ball a little too easily and top players, for which there are many in the Premier League, will take advantage of this. Thus allowing their teammate(s) to attack the vacated space.
I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Konsa starting alongside Tyrone Mings on the opening day of the season away at Spurs – he’s of a similar mould to Axel Tuanzebe after all and that was a partnership that worked well for the Villa in the second half of last season. Further, the beauty of having Konsa in the sqaud is that he can play at right-back if need be and – judging from what I’ve seen of him – he’d also make a really good ball-playing holding midfielder.
Competition for places is a must if you’re to get the best from what you have and it appears that Konsa may need to battle Belgian defender Bjorn Engels to partner Mings at the heart of the defence. It’s rumoured that Villa are closing in on a transfer deal thought to be around £7m for the 24 year old Reims giant.
Engels has previously represented his national team all the way up until the U21’s. At 6 foot four inches he’s a lofty centre-half with an effective aerial presence. Assuming this transfer gets tied up early next week then I think we can safely assume that there will be no deal on the table for the out-of-contract Gary Cahill – who had been linked with a move to the club all summer long.
In a transfer window that saw Wesley Moraes become the first ever Brazilian to sign for Aston Villa, it appears that we might not have to wait very long to see a second one through the door as yesterday morning it emerged that the club has agreed a £15m deal with Manchester City to bring in Brazil Under-23 captain Douglas Luiz.
It is expected that, should Villa manage to obtain a work permit for Douglas, the deal will include a buy-back clause. Although this is an area of contention for some supporters I feel it best to reserve judgement until further details of any prospective move are published.
Douglas Luiz has spent each of the past two seasons out on loan at City’s sister club Girona and is the type of central defensive midfield player that fans have been crying out for this transfer window. It seems that Smith may have turned to the Brazilian having been priced out of a move for Leeds United’s Kalvin Phillips.
Yesterday it also emerged Villa have made an enquiry to Fulham about the availabilty of Ryan Sessegnon. With just one year left on his contract it may mean a cut-price deal deal for the 19 year could be agreed. But Villa will likely face some stiff competition for his signature with Manchester United, Tottenham, Juventus and Paris St Germain all keeping a close eye on the situation.
Supposing the deals for Bjorn Engels and Douglas Luiz are concluded then that would take the clubs spending to in excess of £100m – and it doesn’t appear that we’re going to be stopping there.
The club have been linked with moves for England goalkeepers Tom Heaton and Jack Butland throughout the window and even if neither of these come to fruition Villa are reportedly still in the market for a new number one.
A right winger and another striker are thought to be two further areas Villa will seek to strengthen – especially if we can be rid of Scott Hogan this summer.
Just 400 days ago Aston Villa were on the brink of going into administration over an unpaid tax bill to the tune of just £4.2m. A truly paultry figure when you consider the spending the club has and continues to do during this transfer window.
Although it didn’t feel like it at the time; losing the play-off final at the end of the 2017-18 season really has turned out to be the one of the best things to have ever happened to this football club.
With Edens and Sawiris at the club, along with a very smart and shrewd Chief Executive in Christian Purslow, I firmly believe that we’ll see the glory days return to Aston Villa somewhere down the line. It will take time but now that the shackles of FFP have been shaken these men are showing us all that their pockets are indeed deep. From an outright wealth perspective Villa have the third richest owners in English football behind Manchester City and Chelsea (see table below).
|Estimated Wealth of Owner(s)|
Just because we’re wealthy doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re going to go out and spend a bucket load of cash every window. It’s Purslow’s job to grow the club commercially so that in the future we’re largely parting with self-generated money as opposed to our owners riches. Although it is of comfort to have that wealth to fall back on.
We’ve been playing outside of the top flight for the past three years at a time when there has been no greater reward for playing Premier League football. That makes it an even tougher place to survive than it was a few years ago. There’s a bridge to gap and this summer is about doing just that. So let’s just sit back and enjoy the ride!
Up The Villa!
Written by Ryan Pitcher