You needed a car. You were borrowing one for a while and when they needed that back you decided that you had saved up some money from not having a payment for a bit and you chose to look around. Your old neighbor down the street just passed away. She was a sweet lady, but her family is auctioning off her assets and she has a Corolla that’s barely gotten out of the garage but for a Sunday drive to church. You get the car for cheap and you can’t stop telling your friends about it and you’re thankful every time you turn the key and fire the ignition.
Jota is Aston Villa’s Corolla. Our ‘ToJota Corolla’, if you will. (Please don’t)
In a whirlwind of a summer, it’s become likely that one of the most economical moves Villa made could be the club’s happiest bargain. Crossing the city for a song to the tune of Gary Gardner and a few million quid, Jota was estimated to be a depth option on the wing of Dean Smith’s rebuilt attack.
It was a simple equation. Villa entered the window stacked in the midfield with no less than half a dozen players ahead of Gardner on the team’s charts, whereas the exodus of players out of contract left sizeable holes up front. As the club pursued other options to take the bulk of Premier League minutes, Jota’s underwhelming stint with Birmingham City led many to believe that he would just be playing an understudy role to whomever Smith was really aiming for.
Jota, however, understood otherwise.
During his few preseason matches with the club Jota has shown flashes of a dynamism that the club will desperately need if they hope to stave off relegation and continue their climb back to the top of English football. Whether it’s been scoring outright for himself or providing key assists, Jota has stated clearly his belonging with his recently-promoted teammates. He has quickly built solid chemistry with the rest of the group and provided decent help tracking back with newly-minted right back Frederic Guilbert, as well--a measure of effort and desire that will continue to endear him to his teammates and fans.
Of Aston Villa’s preseason matches that Jota has participated in, he’s looked class against solid if unspectacular competition and the question will be if Jota has enough in him to continue to show among some of the best defenders in the world. His least impressive showing against Villa’s toughest competition in RB Leipzig gives slight pause, yet he still participated in a goal, superbly winning a foul that set up a Conor Hourihane free kick strike to go along with the aforementioned partnership with Freddy G.
There should be no illusion that Villa won’t have some misses from this window. Jota, though, is showing on a match-by-match basis that he will not be one of them and looks to go down as a very positive bit of summertime business.