Why £15m exit is right call from Villa despite short-term concern

With Aston Villa set to green light a £15m exit for Danny Ings to join West Ham Utd, it’s a big decision from the club that will likely split opinion.

As per Matt Maher of the Express and Star, a deal has been agreed between the two clubs for a £15m fee, as Ings will now likely undergo a medical and complete the formalities of his move to join the Hammers this week.

READ MORE: Doubt cast over touted exit for Villa ace

With any important decision made by the club, it will have fans on either side of the fence, but ultimately the decision to approve an exit for Ings is a calculated and measured choice from Unai Emery and management that they will have assessed closely before settling on the call.

Now, there are obvious concerns. Selling Ings midway through the season – our top goalscorer so far this campaign with seven goals in 21 appearances no less – leaves us light up top.

Although Villa confirmed an agreement had been reached for 19-year-old Colombian striker Jhon Duran earlier this week, the talented youngster will most likely need time to settle and acclimatise, and so that could leave us with Ollie Watkins as our only senior option to lead the line.

Time will tell if Villa bring in a replacement for Ings, but as the situation stands right now, there is a concern that we are light on firepower for the rest of the season, with Cameron Archer having already joined Middlesbrough on loan. Our future is certainly bright, but what about the short term?

If we do make a signing though, it will be interesting to see if it’s a like-for-like, or if Emery adds a different type of attacking option and perhaps postpones our search for an Ings-esque striker until the summer.

When considering the pros of the decision though, things start to make sense.

The obvious reason here is that Emery has made the decision that Ings doesn’t fit into his long-term plans and isn’t the right profile of player to suit his ideas and style of play moving forward. That in turn will lead to a senior, experienced and ultimately expensive player sitting on the bench regularly, which is no good for either party even though we do need quality depth and competition.

At this stage, there is full trust in Emery’s judgement and he should be given the opportunity to mould this squad into his own and bring in players who are better suited to his system and identity, where he feels it is necessary. That is just the sensible thing to do in order to have the best possible chance of making his tenure a success.

Further, Ings turns 31 this summer, and with his Villa contract set to expire in June 2024, this is possibly the biggest fee we will be able to recoup for him and so it starts to make business sense too. Add to that he’s one of the higher earners at the club, it will also make a significant difference to our wage bill moving forward as we transition from players like Ings to young talents like Duran.

So, when the decision starts to make football and business sense for Emery and Villa, it’s hard to disagree with it. It’s not ideal that we’ve sold Ings to a Premier League rival, but we’re set to receive a decent fee that can be reinvested back into the squad, and hopefully we’ll be stronger for it and have a long-term plan in mind.

It will be a shame to see Ings leave as he has always given 100 percent in a Villa shirt and has scored some important goals for us in a relatively brief spell. With that in mind, we wish him well in the next chapter of his career – barring when he faces us of course – and time will tell if Villa have made the right decision in the long run.