By Graham Hill
VILLA have had a rollercoaster ride of a transfer window – but how was it for you?
Unprecedented spending on an almost total squad rebuild.
And when you look at the new names coming in, how many of us could say they were on our own own personal wanted list?
Clearly, the likes of Tyrone Mings and Anwar El-Ghazi were well known and their return was always on the cards.
But Wesley Moraes? When he appeared as Villa’s new record signing it came out of the blue.
It was one new face that did not leak out from abroad and Villa did their business quickly. As for Wesley’s prospects in the Premier League, we will have to simply wait and see after an encouraging pre-season for the big man.
Perhaps his Brazilian counterpart Douglas Luiz is more likely to be the key player at Villa this season. A Manchester City prospect who never played for them because he could not get a work permit.
Now he has the paperwork, he can show what he is capable of on the pitch.
But as he comes with a cast iron reference from Pep Guardiola, then it is not unreasonable to expect him to firm things up in midfield.
Smith has strengthened the wide positions with El Ghazi, Jota and Trezeguet all offering plenty. But missing out on Said Benrahma from Brentford when Smith’s club drove too hard a bargain, seemed to be a rare blow for Villa.
And not signing another striker may yet prove costly unless Jonathan Kodjia can step up to the plate.
Right back Fred Guilbert – who has finally joined up with Villa after signing in January and then being loaned back to Caen – looks promising and ex-Southampton left-back Matt Targett has a point to prove.
In goal, you will struggle to find anyone who has a bad word to say about Tom Heaton’s move from Burnley for £8.5million.
Heaton brings much needed experience to a young, new look, Villa side and is considered to be the safe pair of hands Villa need after Orjan Nyland and Lovre Kalinic failed to make their mark – and Jed Steer is not a bad back up.
But the spine of the side is provided by skipper Jack Grealish and bargain buy John McGinn who has just signed a five year contract.
Their know how should glue the team together along with Mings at the back who knows the DNA of the club after his successful six months at Villa on loan last season.
Mings wlll be partnered by either Ezri Konsa – tipped as a future star – or Belgium Under-21 defender Bjorn Engels.
Villa will miss Tammy Abraham’s goals after last season’s impressive loan spell from Chelsea, but fans have every right to be excited by this team as they prepare for a Premier League return with a manager who has known what the club is about all his life and owners who can provide financial stability.