Villa new boys could take time to shine
Summer signing Jota says he and fellow new-boy Wesley have struck up an immediate friendship at Aston Villa.
But fans may still need to be patient before they see the best of the duo in the Premier League.
Villa were the busiest team in the top flight over the summer following promotion via the play-offs. They brought in 12 new signings to try and get their squad up to scratch for the step up in quality.
Boss Dean Smith and his backroom team completed some eye-catching deals as Wesley arrived from Club Brugge for around £22million, while Tyrone Mings was brought in for just slightly less.
In addition to those two, Jota was snapped up from local rivals Birmingham, while Matt Targett arrived from Southampton and Tom Heaton joined from Burnley, among others, as Villa reshaped their entire first-team squad.
Seven of the new signings started Saturday’s first game of the season at Tottenham, with Wesley given the lone frontman role, while Jota was a second-half substitute in north London.
The former showed some good early signs as he held the ball up well and linked play effectively for Smith’s side, particularly in the first half when the Midlanders pretty much gave as good as they got against an opponent fancied by plenty to push for the title this season.
John McGinn’s goal gave the visitors a shock half-time lead and, while the second half proved too much for Villa as Spurs came on strong the longer it went on, the first match back in the big time offered plenty of positives.
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Jota says the new signings have all settled into their new surroundings quickly – a familiar line trotted out when summer arrivals are asked how they are getting on – but Villa fans will hope the former Blues schemer means it when he insists he and Wesley are building a relationship off the pitch, which could eventually benefit the team on it.
Jota said: “Myself and Wesley have got on well since the first day of the pre-season. We speak the same language, Spanish. We’re very close and spend a lot of time together.
“We play well on the pitch together. He knows when to come for the ball and I know when to find him, so he can hold it up and I can make my run off of him. We’re both happy here and are good friends.”
There will inevitably be a period of adjustment for Villa in the Premier League. However, if all the new signings gel quickly, as Jota clearly believes they will, they may soon start to enjoy themselves back among the elite.