Coming into January, we weren't sure if Aston Villa would be doing any buying in the winter transfer window. Paul Lambert ended up being able to bring two players in, as well as shipping some out on loans and permanent deals. Here are our grades.
Jack: He's completely changed the way that Villa look in possession since coming in. Excluding the cracking goal he had to open the scoring against Bournemouth in the FA Cup, he has had quite an impact. He is tricky, wants the ball and offers the side a dimension that was completely lacking before. If he can improve his delivery from corner kicks, there's not much more I could ask from him. For £3.2 million, it looks like he was a steal. A.
James: Absolute bargain. Not much more I can say apart from that he looks the complete business. The way he changed the game against Liverpool speaks volumes of his potential and it would be a shame if he is snatched off of us in the future. Carles Gil might be the best purchase yet in the last few years. As Jack said, this is a great transfer, but the price? You cannot argue with £3.2 million. A+
Jack: I was starting to get very fed up with the club when I head that Sinclair's price was a stumbling block and that the deal was off. Fortunately, the deal was able to be completed, as a true winger is something that was badly needed. A loan with an option to buy seems like the perfect arrangement, as there is plenty of time for him to show what he can do at Villa from now until the end of the year. The only downside is that he's played just 54 minutes of football this season, so match fitness may be a problem at first. Bonus: he isn't FA Cup tied. A-.
James: Not sold on him just yet. If he plays like he did at WBA then Villa have wasted a loan move and this deal might not be the win/win bargain I thought it was, especially with the lack of transfer moves. He showed a little glimpse of what he can do against Arsenal and my only hope is that he can build on that. Could be somethin', could be nothin'. C
Former youth teamers leaving (Daniel Johnson, Jordan Graham, Mikey Drennan)
Jack: It sucks that these guys couldn't break into the first team, but it is a good sign to see that the academy is producing professional quality players. Wish them all the best, and it's good to get a bit of money from the sales. B-.
James: I look at each and everyone one of these guys and my heart breaks. It's such a shame when talent doesn't live up to expectation. I'd have thought at least one of these guys would make the grade. No loss/No win for Villa. C.
Loan deals (Gary Gardner, Darren Bent, Chris Herd, Callum Robinson, Antonio Luna)
Jack: I'm starting to feel that we may have seen the last of Bent, Herd and Luna in a Villa shirt. Gardner and Robinson are still young and not yet ready for the first team, so it's encouraging to see them getting playing time. My only complaint here is that Robinson was recalled for two months, and didn't even get a chance to play. Oh and that Jack Grealish didn't get a loan. Shedding some of Bent's wages is a definite positive, though. B-.
James: Bent's gone and his wages are too high. I'm worried about Gardner's progression and I honestly think he might be stunted now from a few boring loan spells. I expect to see Robinson do well and Luna might excel in the Cissokho role if he can sort his game out (he HAS to be better than Richardson and Bennett). Herd's done, which is a shame as I felt he had a bit of pride and ferocity in his game. Only guy I'd miss is Robinson out of this bunch. B
Agree or disagree with our grades? Comment your opinions below!