Birmingham news Duds and diamonds - Aston Villa's January transfer windows rated MetiNews.Com
MetiNews.Com - Aston Villa's January transfer windows through the years, from breaking the bank to sign Darren Bent from Sunderland in 2011 to last January's frantic - and unsuccessful - trolley-dash
Breaking News ! We're a fortnight into the January transfer window, a winter window that promises to be one of quietest in recent memory given the ongoing pandemic. The United Kingdom officially left the EU on January 1 as well with Brexit finally confirmed and, with it, the European transfer market made that little bit harder for buying clubs in the Premier League and EFL. Dean Smith has informed BirminghamLive that he expects Villa to be quiet this month in terms of incomings. Speaking on January 2, he said: "We've got a number of players coming back and there's certainly depth within the squad but we'll never turn our nose up at any good deal that might come our way. We'll always be looking." So, speaking of good deals, how have Villa's previous 10 January transfer windows compared? Let's take a look and rate each winter window from January 2011 under then-boss Gerard Houllier to last year's frantic month as Villa attempted to patch up significant injuries to the likes of Tom Heaton and Wesley... January 2011 Darren Bent and manager Gerard Houllier after the striker became Aston Villa's record signing Villa were hovering just a point over the drop-zone before Houllier persuaded Randy Lerner to loosen the purse strings to go all out to sign the bang in-from Darren Bent from Sunderland for a then club-record £18.5 million. Bent scored eight in 20 games for the Black Cats before being unveiled on the pitch at Villa Park. He'd go on to secure nine in 16 Premier League games for Villa after his mid-season arrival to fire Villa up the table. In the same month, Villa snapped up Kyle Walker on loan from Spurs and American midfielder Michael Bradley , with the former having a big impact at right-back. Jean II Makoun was signed on a permanent deal as well from Lyon for around £5 million. Makoun managed just Premier League seven appearances. That window in January was all about Bent, though, who struck up devastating relationships with the likes of Ashley Young, Gabby Agbonlahor and Stewart Downing as Villa finished as high as ninth. Smith's side would probably take that this season. Premier League position on December 31: 15th Premier League position after 38 games: 9th Transfer window rating: 9/10 - Bent was a statement signing as Villa broke the bank to arrest their early-season slump. January 2012 Alex McLeish was in charge at Villa here and he signed two Irishman, youngster Enda Stevens and Robbie Keane , the latter coming around 15 years after Villa's initial interest when Keane was at Wolves. Keane was 31 when he joined Villa on a six-week loan deal with the striker scoring three in six Premier League games, including a stunning brace at Molineux. McLeish wanted to kick on but his big-money summer addition Charles N'Zogbia wasn't performing. A disappointing January window was the beginning of the end for McLeish as Villa survived by just two points. Premier League position on December 31: 15th Premier League position after 38 games: 16th Transfer window rating: 4/10 - The Keane deal was short and sweet but it wasn't enough. January 2013 New Aston Villa signing Simon Dawkins For the third successive January transfer window Aston Villa had another new manager. This time it was Paul Lambert who, in the summer prior, signed the likes of Christian Benteke and Ron Vlaar. This window was a shocker, though, and a sign of things to come as Lerner simply shut up shop in terms of the transfer window. Lambert managed to sign just two players this month and they were Yacouba Sylla for £2.16 million from Clermont Foot and winger Simon Dawkins on-loan from Spurs. Dawkins managed just 71 minutes of action with Sylla making 24 apperances across two seasons with Villa. Premier League position on December 31: 17th Premier League position after 38 games: 15th Transfer window rating: 2/10 - Villa supporters had the 'Sylla, Sylla, Sylla, he loves the' song after all. It was an awful window, mind. January 2014 New signing Grant Holt at Aston Villa's training ground Bodymoor Heath. Lambert's Villa beat Arsenal away and Man City at home early on in the season with Benteke performing wonders once again. They lost four games on the spin in December, though, and were knocked back down to 13th come the end of the calendar year. Again, though, money was tight under Lerner with Lambert managing to do two loan deals; Ryan Bertrand from Chelsea and Grant Holt from Wigan. Bertrand was a steady Eddie, while the Holt deal was less popular given he was 32 and joined from the Championship. Holt made three starts for Villa in the Premier League and scored in the defeat against Fulham in April. Bertrand, meanwhile, was a good capture following the previous poor form of Antonio Luna, better known as Tony Moon. Premier League position on December 31: 13th Premier League position after 38 games: 15th Transfer window rating: 3/10 - another wretched winter window under Lerner as Grant Holt rocked up at Villa Park. January 2015 Carles Gil of Aston Villa poses for a picture with Paul Lambert manager of Aston Villa and Tom Fox CEO of Aston Villa at the club's training ground For the fourth January window on the bounce Villa signed a double act - this time it was Carles Gil and Scott Sinclair as Lambert looked to bolster up his attack. Spaniard Gil started four of his first five Villa matches after his £3.78 million move from Valencia however, after that, he was on the bench and banished from the squad before returning under Tim Sherwood the following season, scoring on his second appearance of the 2015/2016 campaign away at Leicester. Read More Related Articles Arsenal sent 'good deal' message over shock Aston Villa transfer Read More Related Articles Aston Vila star Ezri Konsa responds after Ross Barkley threatens to release 'footage' As for Sinclair, he managed just one goal in nine appearances after his loan switch, a deal that was made permanent following Lambert's sacking under new boss Sherwood. The pair featured heavily in Sherwood's side prior to his eventual sacking. Premier League position on December 31: 13th Premier League position after 38 games: 17th Transfer window rating: 4/10 - Villa failed to kick on in January yet again and finished just three points above the drop zone as Lambert was sacked. January 2016 (Image: Aston Villa FC via Getty Images) Remi Garde, bless him. The Frenchman was struggling big time and hoped January would be the ideal time to sign some much-needed quality. He wanted Seydou Doumbia, who instead joined Newcastle on loan from Roma, while Wahbi Khazri signed for Sunderland, and a deal for then-Hajduk Split goalkeeper Lovre Kalinic collapsed after a work permit appeal was rejected. It took Garde 11 games to win a match as the whole club turned toxic before relegation was finally confirmed with four matches to spare.
. No signings in January 2016 resulted in no hope. Premier League position on January 31: 20th Premier League position after 38 games: 20th Transfer window rating: 0/10 - Garde was knifed in the back somewhat with Lerner not prepared to spend a penny knowing he wanted to sell Villa ASAP. January 2017
New Chinese owner Dr Tony Xia went massive in his first season in the Championship and put all of his chips on red - only for the play-off roulette ball to eventually fall on black in May 2018. Xia signed Ross McCormack and Jonathan Kodjia for a combined £24 million in the summer of 2016 while, in January, Xia topped up Steve Bruce's strike force with Scott Hogan for an eye-watering £9.45 million. There's some waste there, by the way.
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Conor Hourihane was Villa's best deal of that January, signing for a bargain £3 million from Barnsley. James Bree came from the Yorkshire club as well for the same fee. Henri Lansbury was added for another £3 million while Bruce also swapped Jordan Ayew for Neil Taylor . Sam Johnstone was snapped up on loan from Manchester United. Unknown youngster Jacob Bedeau - who left Villa on a free in January 2019 - arrived from Bury for £900,000, too. Euro 2020 hero Birki Bjarnason joined from FC Basel for £1.8 million. With Hourihane, Taylor and Johnstone being hits, Lansbury, Hogan and others simply didn't work out as Villa went from 9th before the window opened to 13th come May. Championship position on December 31: 9th Championship position after 46 games: 13th Transfer window rating: 7/10 - Hourihane and Taylor have been stalwarts for Villa in recent years and are still amongst Smith's Premier League squad today. January 2018
Again, another two-man window here but what a duo it turned out to be given the impact Axel Tuanzebe and Lewis Grabban both had to fire Villa to the play-off final. With Hogan firing blanks still and Kodjia playing his own game, Grabban knuckled down and scored eight in 15 at a rate of one goal every 1.8 games. As for Tuanzebe, that was an inspired signing with the Man Utd loanee extending his stay for another 12 months after the season as he helped Villa gain promotion at the second time of asking. The double loan signing in January 2018 helped Villa leap from seventh to the play-off spots. Championship position on December 31: 7th Championship position after 46 games: 4th Transfer window rating: 8/10 - The dependable duo almost helped Bruce's Villa to promotion but for play-off final defeat to Fulham. Shrewd loans, the pair of them. January 2019
BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - JANUARY 31: New signing Tyrone Mings of Aston Villa poses for a picture at Bodymoor Heath training ground on January 31, 2019 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Neville Williams/Aston Villa FC via Getty Images)
Smith's first window as Villa boss resulted in five new recruits, including Frederic Guilbert for £4.5 million with the full-back immediately returning to SM Caen prior to joining later in the summer. If you'd have told Smith after spending £9 million in this window he'd have spent another £200 million-plus in three windows since he'd have probably laughed at you. That's happened though as Villa's owners - Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens - continue to back their man after his heroics to catapult Villa to the Premier League. Villa were 15th in the Championship when Smith walked in back in October 2018. It's been some turnaround since, hasn't it?!
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Elsewhere in January 2019, Smith addressed a glaring issue at centre-back and signed Tyrone Mings and Kortney Hause on loan, two performers who've since signed permanently for £20 million and £3 million respectively. Tom Carroll arrived from Swansea as well that month but the less said about that the better. Lovre Kalinic was in fact Smith's first signing as Villa boss when the Croatian arrived from KAA Gent for £5.4 million. He's since moved out on loan back to Hadjuk Split in this 2021 window. Overall, though, given the success of Mings and to some extent Guilbert and Hause, it was a window to remember as Smith's Villa surged to promotion which included that record-breaking 10-game winning streak. Championship position on December 31: 9th Championship position after 46 games: 5th Transfer window rating: 9/10 - The Tyrone Mings loan deal alone was a masterstroke. Hause was a solid signing also as Smith got exactly what he needed amid a centre-half crisis. January 2020
Star man John McGinn sustained a broken ankle in December and Heaton and Wesley were crippled in the same game having suffered knee ligament injuries at Burnley. Last January was a patch-up, quick-fix kind of job and, after being rebuffed by the likes of Olivier Giroud and Islam Slimani, Villa ended up signing Mbwana Samatta from KRC Genk for his release clause, £8.5 million. Borja Baston was added on deadline day as well with sporting director Jesus Garcia Pitarch scrambling reinforcements at the last minute knowing Jonathan Kodjia left that month to Qatar. Borja was literally a body as he played just 16 minutes before leaving without kicking a ball in Project Restart. Danny Drinkwater came in as McGinn's replacement but that could not have gone any worse given the Premier League winner's fitness and form. He also had an altercation with Jota at Bodymoor Heath. Pepe Reina , meanwhile, was a bit of a success given his displays to help Villa over the survival line. The Spaniard was a character confidence-sapped Villa needed and he lifted the dressing room as soon as he walked into it. All in all, though, Villa managed to get what they could in that January market and eventually survived by the skin of their teeth - even if £8.5 million Samatta didn't manage a single goal in that 10-game Project Restart. Premier League position on December 31: 18th Premier League position after 38 games: 17th Transfer window rating: 4/10 - Reina's heroics in the end bumped this score up a little with Borja, Drinkwater and Samatta all not working out.
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