Things are happening at Aston Villa. Some players have been signed. Some players may be going elsewhere. Some who looked like they would be going, aren't. It's been busy. But the summer isn't over. There's still time to bring in more players if needed. But where else are they needed?
Q: Now that some business has been done by Aston Villa, what's the remaining area that Villa need to focus on this summer?
Signing a left back. There are Premiership-quality players at every other position currently in this squad. If Villa can fill that need, there's no reason a top-half finish isn't within reach. Even if Christian Benteke leaves.
There are few positions in the squad that I am happy/comfortable with our level of depth and quality. We've made 3 good signings but if we're serious about pulling clear of the relegation battle we need several more. Left back then right back (provided Micah Richards plays central) would take absolute priority for me. After that I'd be looking at strikers - we need one even if Benteke stays. A right winger, a centre mid that can attack, competition for Brad Guzan and an upgrade on Nathan Baker/Philippe Senderos would all be on my radar.
A starting left back for sure, and some more rotation options up front and in central defence. Possibly a striker of higher calibre if Benteke leaves though.
Quality would still be welcomed at any position, particularly left back, but I still think Villa should prioritize buying one or two players with goals in them. The club scored just 31 league goals last season, with 13 coming from Christian Benteke, and while a midfield with Fabian Delph, Idrissa Gueye, Ashley Westwood, Carlos Sanchez and Jack Grealish sounds great, that's still not a midfield with many goals in it. I'd really like to see Villa get a versatile attacking player in the remaining transfer window, if not an out-and-out poacher. Tjaronn Chery, Andros Townsend and/or Charlie Austin would all satisfy this need.
With Benteke's release clause meaning he could leave at any moment another club would decide they want to spend 32.5 million on him, I don't want to see Villa left with Libor Kozak and Gabby Agbonlahor as the only players capable of getting goals should Benteke get snapped up at the end of the window. Villa need to prepare for that scenario now.
Hmmm. If Amavi happens I guess that takes care of left back. I guess I'd like to see something akin to that over on the right side. But really the most pressing business left that I can think of is bringing in someone else to score more goals. If Benteke stays, we could be okay, but now that Liverpool have Sterling money, I'm more doubtful of him staying than ever.
For me, there are only a few areas where I feel Villa are blatantly lacking. I feel relatively good about our central defenders even with the departure of Vlaar, I feel good about central midfield, and I feel good about our creator options. A forward-thinking left back is imperative, right back reinforcements would be nice, and if Benteke leaves, I think Charlie Austin is the option that is too good to be true, staring Villa in the face. I wouldn't mind a quick and agile player (maybe younger or of better quality than Scott Sinclair) who can be explosive from the wing, but also slide into a second striker role playing off a big striker like Kozak, Benteke, or Austin.
Left-back is the most obvious. If we somehow manage to get Amavi, I'll be overjoyed. If we don't, then we need to turn to a different target - I won't be able to handle another season of Richardson/Cissokho/Anyone else. Other than that, I'd really just focus on depth across the pitch. Tim's shed some of the fringe players (Lowton, Weimann), but I don't actually expect too many new faces to replace them, I think Sherwood would rather give some of the younger lads a shot make an impact.
Everything seems to hinge on Benteke and Liverpool (or Manchester United, or Spurs, or whoever), with the current secondary drama of a possible Amavi signing. Assuming Benteke stays and Amavi signs, I'd opt for something that aids in creativity on offense right after I pop open a bottle of champagne. Andros Townsend at wing or Dennis Praet as an attacking midfielder would be wonderful, but anything to help improve the goal tally would be nice. If Benteke goes, a striker obviously goes straight to the top of the list.
It's funny, because I came into the summer thinking that the Benteke thing would need to be the first thing figured out to have a productive summer. And here we are having had a decently productive summer and the Benteke thing still hasn't been figured out.
I still say you have to figure that out soon, you don't want to sell him at the last moment and then be left with the striking options that remain. If you can keep him, great. You likely can't though, so figure out where he's gonna go and bring in a replacement and let him get some preseason time with the rest of the squad.
That's what we had to say and now we want to hear from you. What is there left to be addressed for Aston Villa this summer?