Aston Villa's £15m striker flops in France, proving sale was smart

Jonathan Kodija
Jonathan Kodija / Michael Regan/GettyImages

Football transfers are a gamble; a calculated risk that can propel a club to glory or leave it floundering. Aston Villa's decision to part ways with Jonathan Kodjia several years ago initially left fans perplexed. However, the striker's subsequent struggles, particularly in France, now paint the move as a shrewd bit of business.

Kodjia arrived at Villa Park in 2016, fresh from a prolific season with Bristol City. His £15 million price tag carried hefty expectations, yet he initially delivered. A debut season tally of 19 goals underlined his value as Villa battled for Premier League promotion. He was the talisman their attack craved.

Sadly, injuries struck, disrupting Kodjia's form and leading to a sharp decline in his goalscoring output. As Villa regained their top-flight status, doubts surfaced about his ability to replicate his Championship exploits against tougher opposition.

These worries, along with his contractual situation and the club's long-term vision, culminated in Kodjia's sale to Qatari side Al-Gharafa in January 2020.

The Middle East offered a chance for rejuvenation, but Kodjia's spark failed to reignite. A brief flurry of goals fizzled out, prompting a return to France with Ligue 2 outfit FC Annecy. Unfortunately, the downward spiral has continued, with Kodjia yet to find the net for his new side.

In hindsight, Aston Villa's choice appears justified. They made a tough call, prioritizing the club's future over sentimentality. While Kodjia's role in Villa's promotion will be fondly remembered, the decision to sell him looks increasingly astute.

The tale of Jonathan Kodjia demonstrates the fickle nature of a footballer's career. Aston Villa navigated a complex situation with foresight, and the results speak for themselves. As for Kodjia, his journey continues, fuelled by the hope that he can yet rediscover the predatory instincts that once made him a Championship force to be reckoned with.