The summer 2018 transfer window for English clubs to purchase players has now closed, and against all the odds, Aston Villa’s star men and most valuable assets: Jack Grealish, James Chester and Jonathan Kodjia all remain at the club.
Villa have even been able to loan in two (Axel Tuanzebe and André Moreira) and buy two (John McGinn and Orjan Nyland) so it’s been a successful window by most accounts. Just a few short weeks ago, the current scenario would have been seen as a miracle.
The two new billionaires, who have rescued the club from administration, Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens, have clearly instilled a sense of confidence and belief into the club, demonstrated by the steeliness of which Aston Villa dealt with Tottenham’s pursuit of Grealish. Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy held an interest in the precocious playmaker all summer and it seemed only a matter of time that Grealish would sign for them, especially when money was hard to come by during the cash cycle crisis. They always seemed to be ‘considering’ or ‘preparing’ a bid for him without ever firming up their interest with a bid. That was until earlier this week, when a £25 million offer was tabled by Tottenham. Villa rejected this, and apparently said to Tottenham and other clubs that Grealish ‘isn’t for sale at any price’, according to Sky Sports.
As we know, Villa didn’t budge and sell Grealish, they stuck to their guns.
This, despite numerous press reports stating Grealish was unhappy and dejected after being told by the club he wouldn’t be sold. We’ve seen in recent years that Aston Villa have traditionally sold their star players when big clubs come in (Benteke, Young, Milner, Barry) and these sales occurred when Villa’s stock was way higher and they were a Premier League club.
Aston Villa were brave in telling Tottenham to look elsewhere for players. No doubt about it: Rejecting £25 million for one player in the Championship is a major statement of intent from the new owners.
It’s also worth mentioning that, despite a number of bids from Stoke City for James Chester, Villa rejected all of them and wouldn’t sell unless their valuation was met. Thankfully it wasn’t and Villa keep another Premier League quality player in their ranks, further strengthening the squad, and popularity of the owners.
Villa can still loan in and loan out players until August 31 so there could well be more activity before then, but the Grealish news can only be a boost to a club that showed in this window that it knows how to act like a big club again, now it’s time to produce big results on the pitch.