Way back when Aston Villa were sold and Joe Bennett and the rest of the squad was relegated, Dr. Tony tweeted about there being no more stupid transfer deals.
We’re 18 months into the good Dr.’s reign and after last week’s post about the impact of Financial Fair Play on the club, I thought it would be a good time to take a look at how well Dr. Tony Xia has kept to his word.
What happened under Randy Lerner?
The fact is, the Bennett deal was typical of the Randy Lerner regime. Villa’s transfer strategy generally appeared to be “buy them high…sell them…well, don’t sell them…” Of the 36 players bought and sold under the Lerner regime, 20 of them left for nothing. 15 of those left the club at the end of their contracts.
Some of the more notable players of that group included (purchase price in brackets): Nigel Reo-Coker (£8.5m), Carlos Cuellar (£7.8m), Stephen Warnock (c.£8m) and Darren Bent (£18-24m).
Looking at the transfer fees, that’s a lot of money the club invested and saw little return. However, football clubs spread a player’s transfer fee over the duration of the contract (in accounting terms, this is amortisation). In theory, the club gained the full value of that transfer when the contract ends.
For Villa though – we all know that wasn’t quite the case. Successive managers fell out with individual players and created numerous “bomb squads” of unwanted players hanging around without making any appearances. It’s hard to argue that signifies good value.