Aston Villa have a new manager. Dean Smith is the man tasked with succeeding Steve Bruce and is the latest chief to be entrusted with getting this club back up.
He is most certainly a popular appointment, with his reputation as an attack-minded coach and a Villa fan through and through, you would be hard-pressed to find anyone admired by the fanbase as much as Smith. After 2 years of Steve Bruce, it was time for change, and the club have made one, with the appointments of Smith, assistant John Terry, and Sporting Director Jesus Garcia Pitarch.
It’s not what people want to hear, but patience will be required this season, as it may be next season by the time Smith’s coaching philosophy and preferred system and players are in place.
By then, loan players Yannick Bolasie, Tammy Abraham, Axel Tuanzebe, Andre Moreira and Anwar El Ghazi will almost certainly return to their parent clubs, depending on obligation-to-buy terms. Experienced campaigners Alan Hutton, Mile Jedinak, Glenn Whelan and Mark Bunn all see their deals expire in the summer.
The current crop of players at the club may be best suited to a different shape than Smith would ideally play. He could assess the current players and decide that he needs to play a formation that befits those players. The lack of form from the defense, lack of centre-backs present, as well as the uncertain form of Ørjan Nyland in goal gives Smith plenty to ponder in the weeks and months ahead.
The fact all these players are expected to leave in the summer means the Villa squad that starts next season is guaranteed to be wholly different to the one that finishes this. Smith will have the pre-season period and another transfer window (he has January 2019 too) to put his stamp on the side.
I’m very intrigued as to what he will do for the club.