If you walk up to Villa wearing a training kit right now you might be able to get a five-year deal with the club, because that's the new standard. Today, Leandro Bacuna became the latest player to sign a deal that will keep him at the club through the 2019-20 season:
Aston Villa FC (@AVFCOfficial) August 20, 2015
Bacuna's contract was set to run out next summer, and he was probably the last player from that subset who had earned himself a new contract. He now joins Rudy Gestede, Ciaran Clark, Ashley Westwood, Adama Traore, and the Jordans Ayew, Amavi, and Veretout in the five-year contract club.
There are plenty of Villa fans who don't love Bacuna, and I get it. He can be a defensive liability and he doesn't work all that well as a midfielder. But he's one of the most consistent providers of service for the club. He had six assists in 26 appearances last year and he continues to be an intriguing force going forward. Paired with Adam Traore, he could be part of a potent two-flank attack at the new-look Aston Villa.
And as to that defense, this is nothing more than the eye test but it seems to be getting better. Memphis Depay gave him some trouble last Friday and we all have nightmares from what Jefferson Montero did to him last season, but those are both incredibly skilled players. Poor showings against them are nothing to be ashamed of. Elsewhere, I don't remember him being a liability as much recently. Sure, he's hardly a defensive plus, but that's what we've got centre backs for.
All in all, this is good business. Tom Fox's work of solidifying a young core for years to come is both cost-effective and wise. If they fail, very few players on on such high wages that they'll cripple the club. If they succeed, we'll either have a great club or prized assets who can be sold to provide for a great club. Not bad, either way.