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Comment: Why Aston Villa aren't 'doing a Fulham' this summer

By Luke Hatfield | Aston Villa | Published: | Last Updated:

Much has been said of Aston Villa's transfer business so far this summer...

Dean Smith's side are not 'doing a Fulham' this summer.

An estimated £80m spent already, seven signings confirmed - and it doesn't look like stopping there either.

Social media has been awash with football fans from across the country questioning Villa's approach. It appears that Fulham is no longer a noun, but an adjective for countless of onlookers judging the transfer business of promoted clubs.

Villa have already been criticised for 'doing a Fulham' - but whilst it might earn some low-end Twitter profile a handful of retweets, it's actually an incredibly short-sighted point of view.

Fulham memorably splashed the cash in the summer immediately following their promotion via the play-offs.

Over £100m left the coffers at the club. They finished second bottom, only a historically poor Huddersfield Town saved them from the foot of the table.

£25m was splurged on Jean Michael Seri, a man who had been linked with European giants Barcelona and Premier League big-wigs Chelsea, but failed to deliver.

Jean Michel Seri has not lived up to expectations at Craven Cottage (AMA/Sam Bagnall)

An eye-watering £30m was splashed on Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa, a player who was utilised in an unfamiliar solo position in holding midfield - but was also notably poor.

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An injured Alfie Mawson was signed for a reported £15m. Andre Schurrle came in on-loan from Borussia Dortmund and quickly showed Premier League suitors why he was best left in Germany.

Meanwhile, Joe Bryan, Fabri and Maxime Le Marchand were also brought in on permanent deals - none of them had the desired impact.

Add their lengthy list of other loanees and you've got an awful lot of players, barring a select few, not doing the job for the club.

One of the few signings which worked out for Slavisa Jokanovic's side was Aleksandar Mitrovic, who set them back £20m. But he was a player known to Fulham, having been an integral part of their promotion squad.

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Is it much of a surprise that one of their only worthwhile permanent investments over that summer was a player who had been with them previously?

Aleksandar Mitrovic was one of the few successful signings made by Fulham last season following promotion.

Compare that business with that done by Dean Smith's side this summer.

Villa have spent an estimated total of £31m on players they previously had on-loan last season in Tyrone Mings, Anwar El Ghazi and Kortney Hause. They're all players that have already been integrated with the club, they know the system and are all comfortable in their surroundings.

Their Premier League quality may be questioned by outsiders, but judging by their performances in the second tier, they look like players capable of stepping up. Mings of course, has limited experience in the top flight already due to his torrid luck with injuries for Bournemouth.

Ezri Konsa and Jota represent around £16m of Villa's business to date, each of them have worked with Villa's management team and been successful. Jota in particular was one of the Championship's most dangerous players under Smith (and set Villa back just £4m alongside an unwanted Gary Gardner).

That leaves Matt Targett and club-record signing Wesley Moraes.

Targett joins Villa from an established Premier League side early in pre-season and suits the style of play implemented by Smith. Offering a potent attacking threat on the left flank and competition for Neil Taylor. A risk? Probably not.

Wesley, costing in the region of £22m, is the biggest risk Villa have taken in the transfer market this summer.

Wesley seems like the biggest risk taken by Villa this summer so far, and even then there's clear sense behind his signing (BRUNO FAHY/Belga)

Joining from Club Brugge, this season will be his first taste of English football, but with a move for Tammy Abraham looking increasingly unlikely for Villa - he seems to fit the former loanee's mould.

The Brazilian is used to playing as a sole striker in a front three, the position he's more than likely to occupy at Villa Park should Smith stick to his hugely successful 4-3-3 formation which earned the club promotion over the 2018/19 season.

He's far from the finished article, but he's young, promising and by all accounts a player capable of filling the role Smith wants. It's clear that Villa have not thrown cash at a fancy name, they've hand-picked their targets - not to say that The Cottagers didn't with their aforementioned purchases.

Villa earned an estimated £170m by gaining promotion last season. Whilst the numbers might seem scary, the club's approach is much more succinct and measured than last year's play-off promotion winners.

The fact is, Villa are doing their business quickly, but it's more than necessary. Especially given the number of players who departed the club at the end of the season.

Yes, the fees seem big. But the later clubs do business in the window, prices only ever seem to inflate further.

Tyrone Mings may have cost Villa a fair bit, but it's a wise move (AMA)

Would Aston Villa have gotten a cheaper price for Tyrone Mings or Matt Targett on transfer deadline day? Don't count on it.

The club will do more business this window without a doubt, there are a number of holes that still need filling. Villa may well end up spending more than the £100m Fulham did.

But whilst there may be some similarity in the money being banded about, there's not in the way they're spending it.

Luke Hatfield

By Luke Hatfield
Digital Sports Journalist - @LHatfield_Star

Digital Sports Journalist based in Wolverhampton working on the Express & Star and Shropshire Star.

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