I think it's safe to say that no one thinks Aston Villa's summer transfer window was a total failure. Most people, however, seem to have some regrets over what did (or perhaps did not) happen between May and September. I noticed it in last week's Friday Feedback, and I've noticed it in the general dialogue of Villa fans across the Internet. Rumblings and grumblings are all well and good, but I'm interested in knowing just what people would have preferred to see over the summer.
So that's what this week's Friday Feedback is all about. What would you have rather seen Aston Villa do? Obviously, bringing in Lionel Messi would be the best thing ever, but that simply isn't realistic. Aston Villa are a club on a budget, and it's a tight one. So keep that in mind as you give us your answers in the comments.
This week's question: What's the one (realistic) thing you wish Aston Villa had done most over the Summer transfer window?
Aaron: Kept Jean Makoun. His unceremonious ouster was the death of any hope I'd had for playing anything approaching attractive football. It took a lot of the wind out of my sails in terms of optimism for McLeish. We'll be okay, but we'll be boring and sports are supposed to be entertaining. Even when we were terrible last year, we were fun to watch.
I may still be wrong, but whereas before I had a fair bit of hope now I'd be shocked if we're at all interesting to watch for quite some time. I still love the team and will enjoy watching them play because they're my club and I care deeply for them, but Makoun leaving was a pretty massive punch to the gut.
Gareth: My main complaint with Villa's transfer dealings is that they were unadventurous. While I concede that we're dealing with a restricted budget, we're not the only club that's tightening their belts. On a slightly more philosophical level, I will also allow that Aston Villa does not have the same "big club" cachet that they used to. This club will not realistically challenge for a Champions League place in the foreseeable future, the money just isn't there, and the proliferation of empty seats at Villa Park are hardly a portent of a market that's ready to take the next step and demand more from their club.
Kirsten: Gotten rid of Habib Beye. I've come around to realizing we're in a difficult spot now, and we're not going to be getting the fancy-shmancy players, as much as that might hurt (me, specifically). Selling Luke Young to QPR was a load off the wage bill, but the Villa are still financing Beye's Ferrari -- and for what? When was the last time he played a competitive league match?
Of course, being able to sell Beye probably doesn't meet the definition of "realistic". There's no way he's good enough for a Premier League side, and no Championship side is going to take on those wages. But I was really hoping the club would be able to con some sucker into believing Beye is a decent player. Unfortunately, they actively demonstrated that he was not in preseason play. Sigh.
Robert: I think the best thing Villa could have done over the summer wasn't actually a move. Instead, I think they would have been wise to release some sort of statement to the fans outlining exactly what they were trying to do. What was the motivation in moves made? What's the end goal? Is this a team ramping up for a push at the top four, or is it a team that is content to be middle-of-the-table and push for Europe every few years.
I've had this argument on twitter. I staunchly support Lerner's right to tell us fans absolutely nothing. He's the owner of a privately-held business, and he has no obligation to disclose anything. But just because you don't have an obligation doesn't mean you shouldn't do something. A lot of the trouble surrounding the hiring of McLeish, and the grumbling from what is perceived as a lackluster summer could have been avoided if the fans knew it was all towards a larger goal. It's not too late Villa, you can ameliorate a lot of these problems. It might be time to be open, for your own good.
Slaky: I'm having a difficult time reconciling the financial state of the club. Last January, it seemed like Randy and Co. were trying to spend as much as they possibly could to keep the club up and placate the fans who were getting exceedingly tired of Gerard Houllier and the way he couldn't seem to make nice with some of the players. Obviously spending a boatload of cash on Bent was easier to swallow than the prospects of spending a year or more in the Championship. That can absolutely decimate a club, financially speaking.