New investment into Aston Villa has put everything on hold (in a good way, for once). Manager Steve Bruce is set to meet with chairmen Nassef Sawiris, Wes Edens, Tony Xia and the NSWE team on Tuesday to finalize plans.
Barring a poor meeting with NSWE, Steve Bruce is expected to be retained as Aston Villa manager following the club’s change in primary ownership. Per reports, Bruce is owed a £2 million severance should he be fired before the start of the league season.
And, considering recent turmoil, it’s wise to stick with Bruce, deficiencies and all. It’s unlikely Villa are to acquire a superior manager, this far in the summer, that can hit the ground running with a quick league start. Moreover, with almost zero incoming transfers for three consecutive windows, Bruce knows this core group of players through and through.
Thierry Henry has been rumored by some to take over as the next manager (likely through mis-translated reports). And, well, that’s certainly something. Henry might be the next Pep Guardiola, but to takeover a Championship club under FFP pressure with no senior team management experience would be astonishing.
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IF NSWE go into the meeting set on keeping Bruce, the main topic turns to transfer business.
The FFP monster looms ever-closer after immediate short-term cash flow problems were solved. As such, Aston Villa need to make a £30 million-something deficit disappear into thin air. Easier said than done.
Jack Grealish would go a long way into preventing FFP penalties, but his absence would be such a huge loss to a team that just narrowly missed promotion under Bruce with a +30 goal differential.
So too would James Chester, after playing every minute of all 46 EFL Championship matches. He was days away from joining Stoke City, as was Grealish at Spurs. New investment has seen those worries erased…..at until Tuesday.
To fill that deficit perhaps a number of peripheral players will be moved, but even then it’s unlikely to amount to the full deficit. Bruce’s Tuesday meeting with the Board should settle these questions.