Jonathan Kodjia: £11 million. Ross McCormack: £12 million. James Chester: £8 million. Aaron Tshibola: £5 million. Pierluigi Gollini: £4 million. Mile Jedinak: £4 million. Tommy Elphick: £3 million. Ritchie De Laet: £2 million. That's £49 million spent.
About the same as what was spent last summer on Jordan Ayew, Jordan Amavi, Adama Traoré, Jordan Veretout, Idrissa Gana Gueye, Rudy Gestede, Scott Sinclair, Joelon Lescott and Micah Richards.
Here's the issue: these players that Aston Villa spent big-ish money on last summer failed to do what was required. Relegation was suffered because the players weren't capable.
This time around, the goal at the end of the season may be focused at the other end of the table, but it once again hinges on the performances of players. And players purchased in the most recent transfer window are the ones usually blamed/praised depending on how the results go.
So, let's look at how last summer's buys panned out. Gana, Sinclair and Lescott have already left, and for a net loss of a million quid. Of the three, it's just about fair to say that only Gana had a positive impact. Sinclair's may have been neutral, but playing him prevented youngsters from getting a chance to develop. Lescott was certainly detrimental.
Ayew and Gestede cost about £14 million, and combined to score just 12 league goals in 62 league appearances. Not exactly a great strike rate (about one in five).
Across their Championship careers, McCormack and Kodjia have scored 135 goals in 360 appearances, just about a goal every two and a half games, a rate twice as good as Ayew and Gestede, albeit one level on the pyramid lower.
These two strikers that were signed this summer also cost about £9 million more collectively, but that's the way the market works these days.
Undoubtedly a big reason that last summer's signings have been branded a collective failure is the fact that some of them didn't really have a chance to make an impact.
Adama Traoré saw limited playing time due to injury as well as the fact that he just wasn't ready to play in the Premier League. Jordan Veretout did manage to appear in 25 league matches, but was unable to leave a lasting impression that was positive. Jordan Ayew lost the majority of his season to a knee injury.
Last summer, Villa lost major pieces that made up the spine of the team. Christian Benteke, Fabian Delph, Tom Cleverley and Ron Vlaar all needed replacing. The problem was that the club elected to do this on the cheap. And it didn't work.
Gana and Veretout looked like good buys at the time, but couldn't replicated Delph and Cleverley in midfield. Gestede and Ayew played 4008 minutes combined, scoring 12 goals and assisting two, but Benteke scored 12 and assisted three in 2379 minutes during the 2014-15 season. Effectively that's playing with a one-man disadvantage.
The point here is that in order to replace quality, you need to buy quality. Are Ross McCormack and Jonathan Kodjia up to the standard of Championship football? Yes, but maybe not at the level required to win promotion. Villa should have spent (most of) the Benteke money on one striker, say for £20 million last summer. No matter how many £8 million players you can afford, you can only fit 11 on the pitch any given time.