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Aston Villa axe sporting director Jesus Garcia Pitarch after Premier League survival

By Matt Maher | Aston Villa | Published:

Villa have axed sporting director Jesus Garcia Pitarch as the first step of a revamp of the club’s recruitment and scouting strategy.

Jesus Garcia Pitarch (pictured right) was appointed on the same day as Dean Smith.

Pitarch, who was appointed on the same day as head coach Dean Smith in October 2018, was already under scrutiny after Villa struggled in their first season back in the Premier League despite a £131million spend last summer, of which he was at the forefront.

The 56-year-old Spaniard was responsible for the purchase of the £22m record buy Wesley, while also recommending the likes of Marvelous Nakamba, Trezeguet and Matt Targett.

Though Douglas Luiz, a £15m signing from Manchester City, improved after the season’s three-month suspension, many players struggled for consistency.

Villa’s biggest January signing, £8.5m striker Mbwana Samatta, scored only once in 14 Premier League appearances.

Pitarch was also responsible for the deal which saw Villa sign goalkeeper Lovre Kalinic in January, 2019. The Croatian international, who cost £7m from Gent, has proven a costly flop and made just seven appearances.

Chief executive Christian Purslow is now carrying out a long-term strategic review of how the club can improve its recruitment and has decided Pitarch is not part of it. Sourcing his replacement is now a top priority.

Villa maintained their Premier League status by just a single point, courtesy of a 1-1 last day draw at West Ham.

Midfielder John McGinn thinks the club may need to spend big again this summer if they are to push further up the table next season.

He said: “I think everyone is aware we need quality added. We obviously spent a lot of money last summer and we may need to go and do it again.

“We can’t get complacent and think everything is alright now. It was a poor season overall, we know that, both us as players and I am sure everyone upstairs is fully aware of that. There will be changes, I am sure of that.”

Matt Maher

By Matt Maher

Chief sports writer for the Express & Star.

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