Aston Villa's Summer transfer window - what needs to be done?

With the ever-increasing possibility that Villa will play in the Champions League next year what do the club need to do in the summer to stand a chance of having a successful season?
RCD Mallorca v Atletico Madrid - LaLiga EA Sports
RCD Mallorca v Atletico Madrid - LaLiga EA Sports / Quality Sport Images/GettyImages

The Champions League dream for Villa and the fans will soon be a reality and opinion is certainly divided on whether the team and squad are at the level to compete with the likes of Real Madrid next season. With the teams form taking a dip towards the end of this season fans are now looking ahead to the summer and wondering what needs to be done to improve the squad.

Firstly, it is important to remember that Villa have had a fantastic campaign with a squad that has been disrupted by injury from before the season had even started. Baring in mind that Villa have been missing half-a-dozen first team starters on a regular basis this season, it really is a minor miracle that Unai Emery has guided this squad to such a high finish in the league.

Before new signings are even considered, the impact of having the likes of Tyrone Mings, Emi Buendia and Boubacar Kamara return to the squad cannot be underestimated. Missing players of this calibre has meant that rotation through the squad as been near-impossible and many of the team have had to play a lot more minutes than expected.

Morgan Rogers has certainly played a lot more often than was originally intended when he was signed in January, and he has only played really due to Jacob Ramsey's ongoing injury struggles. Thankfully, he has been an unexpected star since his arrival.

Tyrone Mings
Valencia CF v Aston Villa - Pre Season Friendly / Quality Sport Images/GettyImages

Therefore, when Villa do have a fully-fit squad it is very reasonable to think that they are at the required level to compete in the Champions League. Villa have beaten the likes of Arsenal and Manchester City this season and progressed deep into their European campaign.

The team, when fully fit, are certainly capable of competing with the best. However, it is highly unlikely that Villa will go through next season without any injury problems so they will need to add to the squad.

Recent reports claim that Villa are closing in on the free signing of Atletico Madrid defender Mario Hermoso. Hermoso has a plethora of experience at the top level and a signing like that would provide significant leadership.

Although, centre back is probably not the biggest area of weakness for Villa. With Pau Torres, Tyrone Mings, Ezri Konsa and Diego Carlos Villa already have plenty of strength in the centre of defence. So, where do Villa NEED to improve? Below are the key areas for Villa to strengthen:

1. Full-backs

The full back areas are certainly a concern for Emery and he will be keen to address this quickly once the transfer window opens. Lucas Digne is likely to depart, despite a very good campaign, due to his high wages. Alex Moreno has also struggled this season with injury and when he has returned to the side he has struggled to look like the terrific player he was towards the end of last season. On the other flank, Matty Cash is a player who lacks consistency and has not really faced a competition for his place at right-back. Konsa has often had to play out of position at right-back instead. Villa will have Kosta Nedeljkovic joining the squad having signed the right-back in January before his immediate loan move back to Red StarBelgrade, but further additions at full-back is vital.

Kosta Nedeljkovic
BSC Young Boys v FK Crvena zvezda: Group G - UEFA Champions League 2023/24 / Eurasia Sport Images/GettyImages

2. Centre midfield

The middle of the park has been an area that Villa have had to change regularly this season due to injury. Boubacar Kamara has missed the second half of the season due to the ACL injury he suffered in the game against Manchester United and his stability and ability to break up play has been a big miss for Villa. Douglas Luiz has seen a big dip in form too as a result of Kamara's absence. At times, captain John McGinn has had to come central and play the double pivot with Luiz and that hasn't really worked. Youri Tielemans has continued to play well when he has played in central midfield, but again injury issues has meant he has missed chunks of the season. With Kamara unlikely to return until September at the earliest, Villa will look to recruit a similar player to fill the void and provide competition once Kamara returns. Douglas Luiz's future is also uncertain and therefore Villa may be looking at other options to replace him. Alex Baena of Villareal is a name that has already been circulating and as someone who has played for Emery before, that rumour may well have some legs.

Boubacar Kamara
Aston Villa v Manchester United - Premier League / Marc Atkins/GettyImages

3. Forwards

Ollie Watkins has been a stand-out individual for Villa this season and next year he will almost certainly be Villa's main man again in front of goal. Jhon Duran's future looks uncertain and as the 20-year-old Colombian is Villa's only other option up top, Emery will look to recruit to provide competition for Watkins and allow for rotation during what will be another long campaign in terms of games played. It is unlikely Emery will spend big money in this area, but he will look to recruit someone with experience and will be happy with a squad role.

Robin Olsen
Brighton & Hove Albion v Aston Villa - Premier League / Mike Hewitt/GettyImages

Due to the fact Aston Villa will play under UEFA rules next season they will need to cap their spending on transfers, agent fees and wages to 80% of their overall revenue. Villa's end of year accounts published in March showed that revenue had increased to £217.7m and when you compare this to the likes of Manchester City who recorded an overall income of £712.8m for last season it shows how hamstrung Villa might be in their ability to spend on players.

It is clear to see however that Villa have a manager that has an excellent eye for young (and cheap) talent, as evidenced by the recruitment of Morgan Rogers, and he and his excessive group of staff will work tirelessly to ensure Villa get the deals they want and need to boost the squad.