Big-spending Villa face tough task to stay up, says Souness

Reuters , Sunday 14 Jun 2020

Aston Villa
Aston Villa's Belgian defender Bjorn Engels (2nd R) late header forces a good save from Manchester City's Chilean goalkeeper Claudio Bravo (not pictured) during the English League Cup final football match between Aston Villa and Manchester City at Wembley stadium in London on March 1, 2020. (Photo: AFP)

Aston Villa face an uphill task to retain their Premier League status and their heavy spending on players during the close season has failed to have the desired impact, according to former Liverpool captain Graeme Souness.

Villa overhauled their squad in the summer, spending close to 150 million pounds ($188.1 million).

The Birmingham club are 19th on 25 points from 28 games with their campaign set to resume after the COVID-19 disruption against Sheffield United on Wednesday.

"Villa have only 10 games now to prove that they should remain a Premier League side next season and it's not going to be easy," Souness wrote in his column.

"Their 142 million-pound net spend last summer was the largest in England and second only to Real Madrid's 153 million pounds in Europe," he added.

"They're the biggest club in the second-biggest city in the country, but it hasn't happened for them. They're a yo-yo side."

Souness also questioned Villa's recruitment policy.

"Did they end up signing the second or third choices on their list? That's always dangerous... you must hold your nerve and wait until the right players are available rather than signing people for the sake of it," Souness said.

"Their defensive record is the worst in the Premier League. In 28 games, they've conceded 56 goals. That means, on average, they need to score three to win.

"It's a dangerous combination, if you're conceding too many goals and cannot score at the other end. Ultimately, it boils down to the most important things in football: management and recruitment."

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