Wesley Moraes has just signed for Aston Villa for a fee that makes the Brazilian forward Villa’s new record signing.
Wesley is Villa’s first Brazilian footballer, ever, but there’s much more to focus on than his nationality. Moraes is very much an unknown quantity for the mainstream football fan and to mirror this there are plenty of questions about the player from the Villa faithful.
So really, it’s only right that we do what nobody else is doing and have a deeper look at Wesley Moraes.
Who is he?
Wesley Moraes Ferreira da Silva, to be exact, is a Brazilian striker who at the age of twenty-two is Aston Villa’s current record transfer signing. Arriving from Club Brugge, Wesley will cost Villa upwards of £20 million, two million more than the initial fee paid for Darren Bent’s move from Sunderland to AVFC nearly a decade ago. More on that later on.
Wesley leaves Belgium having scored thirty-eight goals in 130 appearances - and will currently slot in as Villa’s first-choice striker pending other arrivals.
He has not yet been capped for the senior Brazilian national team, nor was he capped at youth level.
Let’s see what we can do to change that.
Truth be told, the reports of this transfer came out of nowhere. HLN broke the news this afternoon and the world of Aston Villa hasn’t really looked back. The reports were also confirmed by John Percy of The Telegraph, and CalcioMercato got in on the action as well.
Funnily enough, the deal wasn’t predicted by a single Villa ‘ITK’ account - right up until the point where the deal was announced by Villa.
Villa’s deal for Wesley Moraes is a record breaker on all accounts. First off, it’s the highest sum that Villa have ever paid for a player at twenty-two million pounds. Secondly, it’s the highest fee that Club Brugge have received for a player and finally, it’s the joint-largest transfer in the history of the Jupiler Pro League. It’s some bid, to be fair.
However, we need to take in some context. Adjusting for inflation, Aston Villa’s bid for Moraes falls in line for the bid sent to Sunderland for Darren Bent (£18 million initially).
That’s not the only level of inflation that we need to think about. Since Aston Villa were last in the Premier League, football transfers have their own inflation value. Watch this:
Ever since the revenue of the Premier League increased (ironically the season after Villa were relegated), transfer values of players have inflated dramatically. This increases both the buying power of a club, and it’s selling power. While we could judge a players worth based on their transfer value in 2010, we can’t do that in 2019. Clubs will pay a premium for the players that they want and deals can’t be compared to each other anymore. As explained in the video above - a transfer value isn’t a metic of evaluation anymore as football clubs will simply buy the players that they want and need provided that they have the means to do so and because every football club is different, all deals will be different.
With that in mind, ‘footballing inflation’ needs to be considered and arguably, Wesley may have been sold to Villa for a fee of around £10.75 million pounds if this was ten years ago.
I’d say that estimate is reasonable - especially so with his fleeting experience in the Champions League and Europa League.
I’ll admit - my personal visual knowledge of Wesley extends to 45 minutes split across three Champions League/Europa League games on the BT Sports multi-game app. But there are many who have seen and scouted Wesley previously - because he’s been wanted by Lazio, Arsenal, Newcastle United and West Ham United amongst others. The information is out there.
Wesley - or Our Wes/Big Wes - is a tall and pacey striker. Able to claim the ball from the air due to his size and strength, he’s also able to bring other players into the game when under pressure. There’s also a slight edge to his game; and I’d bet there’s an elbow of his ready to be planted into the face of a Premier League defender. It’s all part of the package though.
He’s not as prolific in the face of goal as you’d hope - and the finishing ability isn’t really there, but at 22 that can be improved. Villa’s key point here is to buy players that are either undervalued, or players that can be improved by the coaching staff. Wesley fits into the latter section. At any rate, it might be that we overvalue the ability to finish - and at the very least, Wesley takes shots and gets into good positions to clean up. He’s a smart player; and that’s the key.
‘The Laziali’ produced a report on the player last summer and described him as somewhat of an unorthodox forward and compared him to Miroslav Klose. We’ll take it.
Wesley has to secure a work permit to play for Villa. His high fee should secure this - but it’s always a slight problem with a player who hasn’t been on the international scene.
If that is confirmed, there are still questions about Wesley from a number of analysts that shouldn’t be ignored. His metrics don’t really scream ‘make me your record signing’:
Numbers last year in the Belgian league— Billy M (@Wideoverload) June 13, 2019
8th in xG
3rd in second assists
13th in shots
Doesn't stand out anywhere else. Not sure I would have done this, but hey https://t.co/LzUDv78cXF
This would hint at more than a few doubts about his ability at Premier League level - and look, Villa need this chap to hit the floor running. Right now, he’s the guy, but Villa will almost definitely have to bring in another striker here. Our doubts are there to be proven wrong, though - and we’re rooting for Wesley.
I can’t resist - it has to be done. Here’s the Youtube showreel of our Wes. Put it on mute.