Aston Villa had an incredibly bright start to the 2022 summer transfer window, and quickly wrapped up deals for Philippe Coutinho, Diego Carlos, Robin Olsen, Boubacar Kamara and Ludwig Augustinsson but then it went incredibly quiet.
Following on from what can only be described as a disastrous start for head coach Steven Gerrard to the 2022/23 Premier League campaign, Villa sit in 19th place in the table, having lost four of their opening five matches and despite adding additional top flight experience to their ranks very late on in the final hours of deadline day with the arrivals of versatile Wolverhampton Wanderers midfielder Leander Dendoncker, and Southampton centre half Jan Bednarek, plenty will feel they have not done enough.
With deadline day done with until January, and Qatar on the horizon, for fans who like a flutter there is plenty of World Cup betting still to be done and although both of Villa’s late arrivals seem incredibly positive about their moves – they two will have one eye on November’s break.
“I’m very excited to have signed for Villa. It’s a new challenge for me. I’m really excited to be here and I’ve already been shown around the training ground. I can feel that this a big club, you can just feel it. I obviously know the players from playing against them, and I know it’s a very good team with good players. I’m really happy to be here,” Dendoncker explained, with Bednarek adding.
“I’m happy, excited and looking forward to a new adventure for me. It’s a great opportunity for me and another great step. It’s really important for me to move to a bigger club and to improve as a player, and Villa is the best place for me to do that. It’s a massive club in England. Coming from Poland, I wasn’t aware how big Villa is. I think the fans are amazing, the stadium’s amazing and also the training ground. I’m really happy to be joining this club.”
You do not have to look far across the internet or social media to see that many Villa fans feel that the club is again only heading in one direction, and there are big parallels to the last time they were relegated to the Championship. Given the form of the club and their precarious position in the Premier League table, there will also be those who question why Belgian international Dendoncker and Polish international Bednarek have potentially risked their own place at the World Cup by making such a risky move – particularly Bednarek, who by his own admission to the BBC thought he was actually set for a spell at the London Stadium with David Moyes’ West Ham United side.
“It was an emotional day. One minute I am going to West Ham, another minute Villa. There were a lot of conversations with all the managers. But this is a massive club in England. It’s really important for me to move to a bigger club and to improve as a player. Villa is the best place for me to do that.”
West Ham have had a poor start to the season by their own set standards in more recent years, but with Qatar in play, many will feel they were the safer bet.
Life for Gerrard and Villa does not get any easier this weekend as they welcome Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City side to Villa Park for Saturday evening’s late kick off, and of course, football as a whole has to adjust to November’s mid-season break to allow the 2022 World Cup to take place.
With so many transfer taking place, it will be interesting to see if anybody ends up regretting their choice.
Photo by Unsplash
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