Date: 2nd September 2021 at 3:39pm
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Aston Villa in the past decade have been a club of extremes.  From proud ever-presents in the Premier League and an American billionaire owner in Randy Lerner, to nearly bankrupt via bizarre owner Tony Xia, languishing in the Championship.

The Midlands giants have, since the arrival of Dean Smith as manager, clawed their way back, via the play-offs, to the Premiership.  Their first season back they just survived on the final day, last year they achieved a very reasonable jump up the league, finishing in 11th and now all eyes are on them to see if they can push on further.

You can see football odds today for how the bookies are rating their chances of breaking the top ten this year. However, it isn’t quite as simple a punt as you might think, because despite some very good purchases this summer, they lost their club captain and childhood Villa fan, Jack Grealish.

Grealish moved to Manchester City for £100million, leaving many fans gutted. However, one that feels slightly different is Vital Villa supremo, Jonathan Fear.

JF says:

I’m in a minority I know, but I’m not at all sorry to see the back of Grealish. I think he has a danger of burning out with his hype and often reported about lifestle. Not only that though, I believe the £100m received for his sale has put us in a seriously good position fair play rules wise remembering he was a home grown ‘product’ so all that money will balance the FFP. Therefore, if we need to buy again in January, if this manager is doing enough to succeed for us this season OR if a change comes about for next summer, there should be funds to spend still.

Looking at the team, and recent additions:

I think we have a mighty fine goalkeeper in Martinez.

Our defence is stronger with Axel Tuanzebe, albeit I do wish that was a purchase not a loan, I don’t really see it as building having loans. But with Hause, Mings, and my favourite of them all Konsa, that is a solid central defense that short of real bad luck, has cover for injuries. Full backs, we will see, Cash needs to push on and being young can/hopefully will, Targett if he plays like last season, all good and Ashley Young brings vast experience and versatility.

Buendia I have massive hopes for. I think he has the potential to have far better stats than Jack ever had. I really hope that proves to be right. I think he could be magic for Villa. Fingers crossed.

Bailey I knew nothing of, but his cameo v Watford, made him look like he belonged in the PL. Big fingers crossed on this one.

Sanson coming back from injury, he’s never had a chance to impress as yet with us, hopefully he can (and yes, that is then like a new signing!).

I think bringing in Ings is genius. And I strongly believe him and Ollie Watkins can easily play together, Ollie often goes wide for the ball anyway.

No doubt those arrivals, with Jack staying, would have been the dream scenario, but all in all, I think we’ve got the better of the transfer merry-go-round.

Were they coming in anyway? I think so. I have no itk on that, but our owners don’t appear to want to stand still. I think that Christian Purslow’s video announcement of the departure of Jack, was all good, nice to make it clear the lad wanted out and that they put in the clause to make the most of his value.

So ok, his departure might have set us back. BUT he was being marked out of games, he was getting worse and worse for the ‘professional’ fouls, and I like the fact we look like we want to stay on our feet and play now. We were over reliant, now we aren’t. Buendia has already showed he can set up goals, and score goals. Ings is a proven goalscorer. If Bailey is half as good as he looked v Watford in his short stint, then I think we have the potential to be top ten this season, maybe even pushing for Europe.

Looking forward to seeing how we do, hoping we can up our tempo and urgency… over to the management team and the players.

No pressure then Dean Smith!

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