January 2017 has been one of the biggest transfer windows so far, with six players coming in permanently in three departing.
To be fair to Dr Tony, he hasn’t held back in offering money for transfer funds. It’s obvious he wants Villa to get back to the big time asap, and spending the money is the best way to do this.
Sam Johnstone was Villa’s first January signing. The goalkeeper was signed for half a season on loan from Man United.
The twenty-three year old has been with the Red Devils since 2009, but has had numerous loan spells at the likes of Scunthorpe, Doncaster and Preston North End.
Johnstone has already played four games for Villa this season, and has performed relatively well apart from a mistake against Wolves. It’s important that the Villa defence feel confident about the player behind them, hopefully Johnstone will install that confidence.
Henri Lansbury was our first permanent transfer. The midfielder made the 2.75 million pound switch from Nottingham Forest on the 20th and looks to be a bit of a steal.
Lansbury fills a void in terms of goals from a deeper position. Villa midfielders have scored nine goals this season, while the former Arsenal man has got six. Lansbury took his goal against us this season very well, a lovely outside of the foot curler.
As Dan Bardell on the Villa View said, “People will up their game just because we’ve signed a relatively high profile midfielder”.
From our most high profile signing to arguably our least, right-back James Bree signed on the 25th from Barnsley for 5 million pounds.
Bree is highly rated and has been looked at by some of the top scouts in the country. The 19 year old has been a regular at the Tykes this season, starting 18 games and coming off the bench twice.
The Wakefield born defender is an attack minded full-back, with two assists this season. Unlike Alan Hutton, Bree can actually cross a ball, and will provide good competition for Riche De Laet next season.
Conor Hourihane, like Bree, also came from Barnsley on the 26th of January. The deal for the attacking midfielder was undisclosed, but is believed to be in the region of 3 million.
The former Republic of Ireland U21 international has been one of the best midfielders in the Championship this season. Not only has Hourihane scored eight goals this season, he’s also got 11 assists. A link to the strikers what we’ve been missing.
This is probably Villa’s most exiting transfer in a while. With a trio of Lansbury, Hourihane and Jedinak, Villa have one of the best midfields in the Championship.
Birkir Bjarnson is probably my favourite signing of this transfer window for two reasons. The first is he’s played for the team nearest to where my dad works, Viking FK in Norway. Secondly, he was part of the Iceland team which England out in Euro 2016.
Bjarnason signed from Swiss side FC Basel on the 25th of January for an undisclosed fee. I can hazard a guess that it wasn’t anymore than 2 million.
The midfielder can play in the centre and on the left. Although he might not be a starter, he gives us strength in depth in the middle. Bjarnason is extremely hard working and is likely to become a fans favourite for his tenacity.
Jacob Bedeau is one of Villa’s less high profile signings this transfer window. After having two bids rejected from Bury initially, Steve Bruce finally got the centre-back on deadline day.
Bedeau was actually released by Leyton Orient before joining Bury. The 17 year old has played seven games this season for the Shakers, who lie 21st in League One.
This move, along with the signing of James Bree, shows Bruce wants to focus on youth. Bedeau will feature in Villa’s development squad this season.
Neil Taylor was also signed on deadline day, the left-back comes in on a swap deal in which Jordan Ayew and 5 million went to Swansea.
Taylor has only made 11 league appearances this season, and looks to have lost his place in the Swansea team to Martin Olsson.
The Welsh international will provide good back-up for Amavi, although not too great going forward, Taylor is defensively sound.
Scott Hogan was Villa’s final bit of business in the January transfer window. The 24 year old striker signed from Brentford for a fee of 15 million with add-ons.
Hogan has been on fine form this season, scoring 14 goals in 25 appearances. The former Rochdale man can also play on the left wing, using his pace as an asset.
Hogan will take the pressure off Kodjia for goals. This signing will allow Bruce to play a diamond, furthermore, Hogan isn’t one dimensional like Gestede or Gabby.
Rudy Gestede was the first Villa player to leave this window. The target man signed for Middlesbrough for a fee believed to be around the 6 million mark.
In my opinion, Gestede isn’t a massive loss for Villa. The Villains already have a plethora of strikers, and the Benin forward has mostly been used off the bench this season. Nevertheless, he did add something different to Villa’s attack.
Ashley Westwood was the second player to depart permanently from Villa. The central midfielder made the move to Premier League Burnley for 5 million on deadline day.
With Villa signing three midfielders, Westwood is not really much of a loss to Villa. However, the criticism he got while playing in claret and blue was unjust. Westwood might have been a bit too partial to the sideways pass but he always worked his socks off. I’ve got a feeling he’ll do well at Burnley.
Jordan Ayew was Villa’s final permanent departure of the January transfer window. The Ghanian was part of a swap deal to Swansea which saw Neil Taylor and 6 million coming to Villa.
Ayew was one of Villa’s only shining lights last season, finishing top scorer with seven goals. This season the Ghanaian has been in a deeper role and has been criticised for holding onto the ball for too long at times. Nonetheless, he is a player most Villa fans are sad to see leave.
January 2017 has also seen the departure of five players to clubs on loan. Aaron Tsihbola to Nottingham Forest was the deal I was most disappointed about. The midfielder looks a class above Westwood and Gardener, he can dictate the tempo and is a bit of a bruiser standing at 6ft 3.
Aly Cissokho made his move to Olympiakos on the 14th January. It was clear the left-back wouldn’t be getting much game time over Amavi this season so him leaving was a good move for both parties.
Pierluigi Gollini went on loan to Atlanta this month. The Italian keeper has made some excellent saves this season, especially against Brighton, but has also made the odd mistake. Gollini fell behind Mark Bunn in the pecking order, and admitted he wasn’t happy in training. A good move for him.
Ross McCormack was the most high-profile player to depart on loan from Villa this window. The Scottish striker has looked off the pace this season, scoring just three in 20 games. This, along with the fact he’s missed five training sessions in a row, (including the famous gate incident) has earned him a move to Nottingham Forest until the end of the season.
Finally, Kevin Toner went on loan to Bradford City on deadline day. Toner played four games toward the end of last season, but Di Matteo deemed him surplus to requirements in the summer, and the defender went to Walsall for the first half of this term . At twenty years of age, you have to question whether his future lies at Villa.