Neil Taylor: Aston Villa "would have been playing five-a-side" without summer spending

By Matt Maher | Aston Villa | Published:

Neil Taylor has dismissed criticism of Villa’s summer spending and declared: “Without it, we would have been playing five-a-side games!”

Neil Taylor (left) and Jota applaud the fans at Tottenham.

Villa splashed out £127million on 12 new players after winning promotion to the Premier League in May.

Chief executive Christian Purslow this week defended the outlay, describing it as “no trolley dash” and pointing out a rebuild was inevitable, after Villa released nine players at the end of last season.

Left-back Taylor, one of only 10 senior outfield players who remained, feels the latter point is one which needs highlighting. He said: “There’s almost no point talking about the rebuild really. If we hadn’t done that, we’d have had to play five-a-side games.

“Either way, that amount of players had to come in. I guess it is the amount of money which was spent that has caused people to raise their eyebrows. But as owners, if you’ve got the money, why not use it?”

Taylor continued: “The good thing I can see from the players we’ve recruited is they are hard-working lads, with something to prove in this league. Those are exactly the type of players you want to have.”

Boss Dean Smith fielded six of the summer signings in last weekend’s 3-1 defeat at Tottenham, with Egyptian winger Trezeguet, Belgian defender Bjorn Engels and goalkeeper Tom Heaton all impressing.

Villa now host Bournemouth in their home opener on Saturday, with Taylor confident the new boys have what it takes to be a success in the Premier League.

“The new lads who featured at Tottenham all showed their attributes. I’m extremely confident we have recruited really well,” he said.


“We should get better. We had a good pre-season with the new lads and they have hit the ground running.

“I think you saw Trezzie (Trezeguet) on Saturday, he’s been a great addition. They are all getting to know this league and I have every faith in them. I think they are going to do well.”

In a wide-ranging interview, Purslow insisted the summer spend has not left the club in financial risk, should they suffer relegation back to the Championship.

He also thanked billionaire owners Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens for their backing.


Purslow said: “Very simply we would have been starting the season with 10 players had we not bought players.

“With or without promotion (head coach) Dean Smith and (sporting director) Jesus Garcia Pitarch were hired with the certain knowledge that in the summer of 2019 we would be rebuilding our club, either in the Premier League or the Championship.

“It’s a huge amount of money but, thanks to Sky and others, it’s about a year’s worth of television money.

“My board and I feel strongly that in the Premier League we have an obligation to be competitive, not to be promoted, spend no money, take some TV money and say thank you very much and go back down.”

Matt Maher

By Matt Maher

Chief sports writer for the Express & Star.


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