Let’s start with a premise. This one comes courtesy of Sam Tighe. You can certainly quibble with the specific numbers (since there is always a bit of speculation involved in transfer sums), but both the incoming and outgoing amounts are close enough to being reality that they work for our purposes:
Approx £60m spent on these players (sold about £15m worth) https://t.co/H0aorMq3L3— Sam Tighe (@stighefootball) August 30, 2016
£60 million is a LOT of money. And Tony Xia has been absolutely profligate in his transfer dealings, smashing the Championship transfer record not once but TWICE in the same window. Meanwhile, with outgoing players factored in, Villa have (pretty quietly) snuck up on that £50 million number that floated around when Xia bought the club. That’s how much we thought he might be willing to spend, and he’s done it.
At the back of my head, though, I keep wondering about something. Isn’t that a lot of money? Isn’t that, perhaps, too much money? Xia has just purchased this club and he’s already out an additional £45 million, or so. Jonathan Kodjia is probably going to be a very effective player for Aston Villa, but is he worth £15 million when all is said and done?
In pure terms, probably not. Unless he’s the reason that Villa get promoted, there’s almost no way that he makes the deal worth it. He’ll be good (I hope)! But that is QUITE good. So yes, there is a bit of worry about these transfer fees that we’ve been seeing.
But that worry gets mitigated a bit by two factors. One that’s fairly rational, and one that’s purely emotional. The former is the knowledge that if spending all of this money can lead to promotion, the Premier League is so stupidly rich that these fees will have paid for themselves. The WORST team in the league will get nearly £100 million in prize money next year. The best will get something around £150 million. In those terms, £50 million doesn’t seem like that much. Lead us to the promised land of milk, honey, and ludicrous television deals, and the new Aston Villa players will feel like absolute bargains.
Even if that doesn’t happen, there’s a more emotional argument for not caring too much about these fees: they aren’t paid with my money. Sure, ticket prices can (and probably will) go up a bit, but the direct impact to us will be pretty negligible. So perhaps paying a combined £28 million (or so) for two Championship strikers is crazy. But it’s not our money! Xia has it, he wants to spend it, and he has been. Have fun, lad!
There is, of course, the worry that he could burn out like Randy Lerner did, but in the here and now, it’s tough to envision that. Meanwhile, transfer fees are getting stupid throughout England. So if Xia wants his club to compete, he could be shrewd and build slowly, or he could drive a dump truck of cash to Villa Park and tell Roberto Di Matteo to have some fun. As fans, at least right now, the latter option is FAR more fun, so we may as well enjoy it.
The spendthrift ways of Xia might be cause for concern. But they also might be totally fine. And here’s the weird thing: because of the exigencies of the club, the nature of the current transfer market, and the unknowns surrounding Xia, it’s really tough to get a bead on this. There are too many variables for me to feel confident proclaiming anything.
So for now I’ll keep a wary eye on the transfer and wage bill but enjoy the heck out of what has become a very fun transfer window. This could all backfire spectacularly, but it could also be a wild success. In the absence of anything pointing one way or the other, let me at least enjoy it.