Dean Smith warned that Deadline Day would be slow and unexciting for Aston Villa.
Yet the club’s glaring need for a well-rounded player to play at the base of midfield had supporters hoping for an exciting deadline-day signing.
But when the window slammed shut late on Tuesday night, the only activity Villa had to report was a handful of outgoing loan deals.
Conor Hourihane left for Sheffield United in the Championship, while Frederic Guilbert returned to Strasbourg in France’s Ligue 1. The right back made 13 appearances for Strasbourg after a completing short-term loan move in January.
Aston Villa completed business early in the transfer window
As much as Deadline Day is exciting, teams active on the final day of the window are generally panic buying. Three games into a new season, some clubs realized they were short in certain areas and were prone to make late signings for the sake of it.
Smith and Villa went a different route and completed business earlier in the summer. Emi Buendia was brought in to play with Jack Grealish in June, and when the latter was sold, Villa targeted replacements. Leon Bailey talks were already underway at the time of the Grealish sale, and Danny Ings was signed immediately to address a loss of attacking potency.
Smith wanted a midfielder, but Villa had no intention of buying one late in the window just because the money was available to do so. The club targeted James Ward-Prowse early in the summer because there was a belief that he would make the squad better. In the end, Southampton’s price tag was too high, and the England international signed a new deal with the club.
Surely, if Villa had the opportunity to make a sensible signing sometime over the last week, they would have considered it. But that wasn’t the case, and the lack of a panic deal shows the club is organized and committed to a long-term plan.
An important part of that long-term plan is integrating young talent into the first-team setup. With no new incomings in the midfield, Smith will turn to academy products Carney Chukwuemeka and Jacob Ramsey. Both have impressed in the early going and will see regular minutes this season.