Aston Villa face an important summer transfer window as we’ll be looking to continue to improve and build on our performance last season.
While Dean Smith will hope to see his current squad continue to improve and develop, bringing in reinforcements will no doubt be a key part of the club’s strategy this summer too.
It has to be quality over quantity in the coming months as Villa need to bring in a few top-class signings to help us kick on, rather than padding out the squad and not really raising the level.
In order to do that, key additions need to be made in certain areas, while keeping our talismanic captain is also of paramount importance this summer.
Add full-back depth
With Ahmed Elmohamady and Neil Taylor both leaving as their contracts are set to expire, Villa have a lack of depth in the full-back areas, particularly on the left side.
Frederic Guilbert will return from his loan spell at Strasbourg while youngster Kaine Kesler will hope to get a look in to compete with Matty Cash in the long term, and so perhaps Smith will feel as though he has adequate competition at right-back.
However, with little to no competition for Matt Targett, signing a left-back capable of pushing him seems like an important piece of business.
Assess overall squad depth
The same is applicable to other areas, with a new goalkeeper likely to be on the agenda after Tom Heaton’s departure.
Smith will need to decide if he’s comfortable with the options at his disposal elsewhere while also considering further potential exits if players like Bjorn Engels aren’t content sitting on the bench as second or even third choice.
With such a talented group of youngsters coming through, it will be a balancing act in working out who’s ready to be promoted to the first team and in turn where we don’t need to think about new signings.
Add a midfield enforcer
John McGinn and Douglas Luiz have been excellent for us, while Marvelous Nakamba has shown on several occasions that he can be an important player to bring in for certain games if we need a little bit of extra defensive protection.
However, there isn’t enough quality depth in that midfield engine room, and we’re arguably lacking an enforcer in that role who can really take charge of a game, give us a foothold and dominate the midfield battle.
If we can bring in a top level midfielder to address that, we’ll be in a better position to control more games next season and beyond.
Bring in more attacking quality
There was undoubtedly a heavy burden on Jack Grealish’s shoulders last season, and his absence through injury in the second half of the campaign really hurt us as our form dipped and we dropped down the table.
Adding more class in the final third to ease the pressure on him and cope without him is also a major objective this summer, and so Villa have to identify and bring in the right players to improve our frontline who also complement our current attacking stars.
The likes of Emiliano Buendia and Dwight McNeil have been heavily linked with us for a long period of time, and so it’s hoped Smith is able to get the player who will be most effective in our system and style of play.
While the constant headlines and rumours have long become tedious and pure fiction for the most part, the hope is that we’re not left stunned before the end of this window by losing our influential captain.
Grealish is still the driving force of this side and an inspirational figure on the pitch given the quality that he possesses, and so it’s absolutely imperative that we keep him and continue to build to show him that we can compete for major honours moving forward and he doesn’t have to go elsewhere for that.
It’s difficult to see him leaving this summer given he signed a new contract last year, has seen the progress we’re making and is committed to his boyhood club still, but despite the significant amount of nonsense that is reported, Villa must rebuff any interest in our talisman in the coming months if it were to arrive.