Why Villa are not ‘the new Fulham’

Boss Dean Smith will take inspiration for Liverpool and Tottenham's Champions League heroics in Aston Villa's promotion bid.

Aston Villa have brought in 12 new faces at a cost of over £120million this summer, leading some to brand then ‘the new Fulham’ – but is that a fair comparison?

The Cottagers embarked on a similar spending spree last year after earning promotion but their bold moves in the transfer market failed to pay off, as they went straight back down and in truth never really looked like mounting a serious survival bid.

There may be some similarities regarding the two clubs respective spending but when you break it down there has been a more measured approach to Villa’s transfer activity.

Tyrone Mings, one of Villa’s most expensive purchases at £20million, spent last season on loan at Villa Park and is already a settled member of the squad. The same can be said of fellow defender Kortney Hause while keeper Tom Heaton brings plenty of Premier League experience, and knows what it takes to be involved in a successful survival fight from his time at Burnley.

There are a few unknowns thrown into the mix as well such as Wesley and Marvelous Nakamba, who arrived in separate big-money deals from Clubb Brugge, and they may take some time to settle, but one massively encouraging sign for the Villa faithful is manager Dean Smith’s record in the transfer market.

During his time in charge of former club Brentford, Smith signed the likes of Said Benrahma, who is understood to be a Villa target, John Egan and, perhaps most notably, Neal Maupay. 

Egan helped Sheffield United win promotion last season and became a Republic of Ireland international during his stint with the Bees, while Maupay has just completed a big-money move to Brighton.

Villa have shown support to Smith during the transfer market and are likely to stick with him through the coming campaign even if results do not meet expectations early on in the season. 

In contrast, Fulham gave up on Slavisa Jokanovic in November and replaced him with Claudio Ranieri, who lasted just a few months before the club wielded the axe again and promoted Scott Parker.

Comparisons can be made with Fulham’s 2018 summer transfer window in regards to the amount Villa have spent and the number of players they have brought in, but that is where the similarities end and there is every chance Smith will be able to balance his new recruits with the rest of his squad as the West Midlands club look to do more than just survive after earning a return to the Premier League.