Maybe you’re thinking of booking a last-minute holiday somewhere hot? Perhaps you’re scrawling through search engines seeking flights that are affordable, or desperately emailing every decent hotel in case a room becomes available - otherwise leaving you paying over the odds for somewhere sub-standard? Regret washes over you wishing you’d thought of this a few months ago so you could have saved some cash and found somewhere that doesn’t leave you feeling concerned or dejected.
In proactively acquiring our targets early Aston Villa have avoided the mad scramble for replacements. Whether our purchases turn out to be value for money or not remains to be seen but, as we know from previous transfer windows, deadline day panic buys can transpire to be ill-thought for an exorbitant fee. Take Andy Carroll as an example: Liverpool had sold Fernando Torres, their star striker, to Chelsea meaning they had to scour the market to fill his boots. Newcastle outright declined a £30m offer from the Reds for Carroll. The Magpies knew Liverpool simply had to replenish this void; not just to have another forward on their books but to give the fans hope that their season wasn’t going to pitter out in to the wilderness – a statement of intent. Standing firm and demanding £35m, Newcastle eventually accepted said offer from Liverpool and Carroll headed to Merseyside. Nobody could believe the sum being mentioned at the time, it was simply mind-boggling that anybody would pay such a figure for Carroll but Liverpool had no choice. They could’ve have gone for a cheaper option, possibly, but that may have been deemed unacceptable by their supporters who demand big names at Anfield. The board acted on the pressure and stumped up for, what was at the time, their most expensive signing ever. We know the rest; he didn’t come close to repaying the money paid for him and would go down as an all-time Premier League flop.
Is this typical of a hastily rushed, late signing?
Simply put, no. But the risk of somebody signed an hour before the market slams shut is far greater than a meticulously planned scouting of a player brought in over a month before the new season begins. I’ve always wondered whether it crosses players’ minds when they do sign for a new team on deadline day whether they were really ever wanted? If the board truly did want their man, wouldn’t they have made sure he wasn’t snapped up by another club and get their business done early? It must be slightly disheartening to be a panic buy (although I’m sure the preposterous wages go some way to making up for it). Nonetheless, Wayne Rooney, Jermain Defoe, Ashley Cole, Luis Suarez, Carlos Tevez, to name but a few, have all gone on to prove that they were always desired and that sometimes a transfer saga simply takes longer than you’d like. These are examples deadline day signings who have proved to be excellent business. Ask any of those recruitment departments, however, and they’d tell you that they’d much prefer to have got their men through the door early on to embed them in to the team for pre-season, not pay astronomical late prices and prevent some of those wrinkles produced by stubborn negotiations.
With rumblings of Douglas Luiz, Bjorn Engels and Trezeguet pulling in on the Aston Villa delivery train, our dealings seem to be endless and we’re not even half-way through July. This is unprecedented in my lifetime as a Villa supporter. Adding to the seven signings we’ve already made; our formerly depleted squad has been given new life with some returning faces to accompany new boys looking to make a name for themselves in the top flight. The tally is reaching £100m and we’re by far the top spenders in the league. Regardless of what critics say, we had to spend big to stand any chance in this division. With so many players released and returning to parent clubs from loans, our board have correctly decided to avoid any mind games and move quickly.
Yes, there are some question marks over the signings, as there are with any notable move. The signing of Wesley from Club Brugge raised eyebrows when the fee was mentioned to have been £22m. The last striker we signed from Belgium didn’t work out badly at all but the money involved was a lot less. Can Wesley emulate the traits of Christian Benteke? We’ve certainly got our fingers crossed. The speculated £15m for Douglas Luiz, a player who barely featured, if at all, for Manchester City, also makes for interesting reading. Tyrone Mings is a different story – we know exactly what we’re getting with our lynchpin from last campaign so £20m was worth paying.
The ‘bargain’ buys have been interesting too. Signing Jota for £2m + Gary Gardner seems like shrewd business – with many people saying that only parting with a minimal amount of money plus a reserve player for one of Birmingham’s better players meaning it is sensible spending. Add to that the re-signing of Kortney Hause who performed dutifully on loan for the latter part of last season. Anwar El Ghazi was also purchased for relatively cheap too with only £5m being mentioned.
True to Christian Purslow’s post-playoff words, things have been done swiftly. Having booked our retreat early, with only a few minor details to secure, we’ve stepped off the plane having found the best deal. Our hotel is right in the centre of a beautiful resort. Now, let’s just sit back so we can enjoy what will be an enjoyable stay in the sun.