Dean Smith’s men had a very impressive campaign in 2020/21, as they took huge strides forwards from where they were in 2019/20 when they narrowly escaped relation on the final day of the season, helped by an impressive 35-goal swing in terms of goal difference from one season to the next.
Are you confident Villa can finish in a European place this season?
And they aren’t just resting on their laurels and sitting still; they want to carry on that progress, perhaps best demonstrated by breaking the club transfer record to bring in Emiliano Buendía from Norwich City.
Other names mentioned that could come into the fold are Matheus Pereira of West Brom and Dwight McNeil of Burnley, and speaking on his show, Batters thinks that if Villa can pull off one of those signings, then there’s no reason why the club can’t take another step forward this coming season:
“I personally think we’ve got to bring either McNeil or Pereira in to be a right-winger, be a right inside-forward cutting in onto their left. Then we’ll have [Jack] Grealish on the left cutting onto his right and then we’ll have Buendía in the middle and then Watkins up top, and that’s our attack complete, pretty much. I actually think that attack can take us into the Europa League, genuinely.”
TIF Thoughts on Harry Batters’ comments about Aston Villa’s potential…
Whilst you can certainly appreciate Batters’ confidence in his side – confidence that isn’t totally misplaced given the turnaround and the initial investments made – he is perhaps getting just a little bit too far ahead of himself.
Because whilst Villa might be making improvements, the fight for the top six is going to be incredibly fierce next season, especially if some of the bigger teams like Arsenal bounce back from a disappointing season, and if Wolves can get back to where they were in their first two seasons back in the division.
That’s not to say it’s impossible, as Leicester City taught us that nothing is impossible in football, but if Villa were to break into the Europa League, the teams above them would have to take big steps back in order to leave a space open for them.