Aston Villa are going to lose one or more of last season’s key players this summer, and because of the way that the club has been run over the last two seasons, they are almost helpless to do anything about that. We may yet lose Jack Grealish and James Chester, and of course, Villa are in no position right now to offer deals and contracts to temporary players - people like John Terry, Robert Snodgrass, Lewis Grabban and Sam Johnstone. Ironically, for the latter trio, their performances for Villa have simply raised their stock and ensured that Championship clubs in need of top performers have the perfect candidates - almost ready and raring to go.
The recently-relegated Baggies needed to swoop for Sam Johnstone, as current keeper Ben Foster has forced through a move to Premier League Watford, and this news comes as a big blow to Aston Villa, who will have to replace a player who isn’t theirs, with money they do not have.
While Jed Steer, Matija Sarkic and Mark Bunn are on the books of the Villans, it’s clear that none of these options have really raised the eyebrows of Villa’s coaching staff (Sarkic, though, is still a highly-rated academy player). Villa’s transfer window hasn’t yet kicked off, but business will have to be conducted soon less the club lose out on their targets to competing teams. For instance, it’s thought that Villa are currently interested in bringing former Brighton keeper Niki Mäenpää in on a cheap deal. The Finnish free-agent, who barely made an appearance for Brighton in his three years at the club, is also being chased by Nottingham Forest - who can probably pay him more than Villa can. It’s going to be tough to replace Johnstone unless a loan deal can be made.
On a final note, the fee for Sam Johnstone is around £6.5 million - and while it’s pretty pricey, it’s still an achievable fee for a club the size of Aston Villa. The fact that the club are missing out on sealing the deal for a key part of the team is a sore point to consider, especially now that he’s likely going to be a major player in West Bromwich Albion’s bid for the Championship title.