By Graham Hill
DEAN Smith has completed his first deal of the summer – and it has divided some Villa fans.
But, in reality, the boot is now on the other foot for former Brentford boss Smith!
Jota arrived at Birmingham City a little under two years ago as part of Blues’ drive for promotion.
And while the Spaniard was one of the club’s top players, that dream of the Premier League never quite happened.
Jota arrived on big wages and with boss Harry Redknapp aiming for the top.
But it all went wrong, Redknapp was sacked and Blues spiralled into financial problems which eventually saw them deducted nine points last season.
Turns out Smith had a reunion with the player on his mind all along though.
Redknapp raided Smith’s Brentford for the likes of Jota and defender Harlee Dean.
But now the tables have turned with Smith able to reunite with the winger who was one of his most impressive performers at Griffin Park.
Some Villa fans may not take kindly to a Birmingham player arriving amid all the talk of big spending from owners Wes Edens and Nassef Sawiris.
But clearly, this move was high on Smith’s wish list and there could be another reunion if he can bring highly rated 22-year-old striker Neal Maupay to Villa Park.
The deal seems to suit Blues who also get midfielder Gary Gardner as part of the deal. Garry Monk appears to be staging his own rebuild at St Andrew’s and Jota was clearly happy to make a move to the top flight which was probably where he felt he should have been a year ago.
It promises to be an exciting month at Villa with new signings clearly in place despite the shortened gap between the end of last season and the start of the new Premier League campaign.
Expect Maupay to arrive with Tyrone Mings expected to seal his permanent move to Villa now that he has deleted the words ‘footballer for Bournemouth’ from his social media account. A deal taking Anwar El Ghazi from Lille to Villa is probably not far away either.