Dr. Tony Xia fulfilled his promise to provide a major cash injection into Aston Villa to see them out of the Championship at the first time of asking.
Nearly £72m was spent on bringing in 16 new faces during the season, and while that was offset by close to £40m in sales, it was still an extraordinary amount for a Championship club to be parting ways within one season – and the gamble backfired.
Following the embarrassment that was Roberto di Matteo’s tenure at Villa Park, Steve Bruce was unable to get Villa into the promotion reckoning but hopefully, with another summer to shape his squad, he can get them back on the right track as they, again, will be one of the favourites for promotion.
This season’s spending has taken its toll, however, as the Telegraph reveal that Bruce will have to employ a sell-to-buy strategy if he wants to sign any new players.
FFP regulations are restricting Villa’s move in the transfer market as they sit perilously close to breaching them and facing possible sanctions.
The report lists a number of players who will be made available for transfer in order to fund some positive transfer business, while Carlos Sanchez will be completing a £2.5m permanent move to Fiorentina after a successful loan spell in Serie A.
Jordan Amavi, Carles Gil, Jordan Veretout, Tommy Elphick and Aaron Tshibola will all be made available for transfer by Bruce in a major summer overhaul of his playing staff.
Both Gil and Veretout left on loan last summer before Bruce arrived and both see their futures elsewhere with moves to their native Spain and France likely, while Tshibola, who left the club in January after Bruce brought in three midfielders, isn’t fancied by the current playing staff and will seek a permanent exit.
Villa snubbed considerable Premier League interest in Amavi last summer and during the season but following the January arrival of Neil Taylor the writing was always on the wall for the Frenchman who is being pushed closer to the exit door.
Elphick started every Championship game as club captain up until Bruce took over but was then dropped from the starting eleven, making just eight starts in the following 30 league games.
Bruce still has a wealth of talent at his disposal in all areas of the pitch and with the right additions, he should be able to get Villa in a position to mount a serious challenge for promotion.