Aston Villa have finally returned to the Premier League after a three-year absence, securing their place at English football's top table after their 2-1 victory over Derby County in the Championship playoff final.
Nine players have been released already, while reinforcements are clearly needed at Villa Park ahead of the new campaign. Making the right moves in the market and getting players to adapt quickly to the gulf in quality is the hardest part of promotion - just ask Fulham and Cardiff.
Many loan players who were vital to the club’s promotion push have since returned to their parent clubs and there is a wait to see whether they will return.
The manager Dean Smith, CEO Christian Purslow and Sporting Director Jesus Garcia Pitarch must now work on bringing in new signings which will strengthen the team ahead of the new campaign.
Here’s a list of the players that Villa should bring in to survive in the promised land.
Tyrone Mings (Bournemouth)
Since arriving at B6 in January, Tyrone Mings has established himself as a leader and a commanding presence at the back.
A strong, dominating defender who can play the ball out comfortably, Villa fans even named the star ‘the Championship Van Dijk’, while he has also drawn comparisons with club legend Paul McGrath.
Mings is still on the books at Bournemouth but Villa will be determined to make this move a reality.
Mings, along with the return of talisman Jack Grealish from injury, was a massive part of the team’s ten-game winning run towards the end of the season.
It’s fair to say that, without him, Villa may still be a Championship club.
Neal Maupay (Brentford)
With Tammy Abraham returning to Chelsea, the Villans are in dire need of a new striker who can cut it in the Premier League.
Dean Smith has worked with Neal Maupay before and the forward fits his transfer remit: young, hungry and athletic.
A bargain £1.8m signing from St Etienne, the 22-year-old scored 28 goals last season and created nine for his teammates.
At just 5ft 7in, Maupay is more of a ‘fox in the box’ type of player rather than a target man but he suits Dean Smith’s style perfectly.
Aaron Mooy (Huddersfield)
Not one who is currently linked to club but Aaron Mooy impressed massively in Huddersfield’s midfield during their two years in the Premier League.
The central midfielder is exactly what Villa need after missing out on Leroy Fer in January - someone who can control possession and pass the ball from central areas.
The 28-year-old is also a good set-piece taker and likes to dictate play from deep positions.
He made 30 appearances for the Terriers last season and with Glenn Whelan gone, he could fill the gap in the engine room nicely.
Jarrod Bowen (Hull City)
Jarrod Bowen has excelled for Hull City this campaign, scoring 22 goals along the way.
At just 22, there is a bright future ahead of the wide man who would fill the gap left by right-winger Albert Adomah, who has now left the club.
Bowen is deadly inside the box and his father is rumoured to be a Villa fan - which could sway his decision, should the club come calling.
The forward’s dribbling ability would complement that of Grealish and McGinn perfectly going forward.
Joe Lolley (Nottingham Forest)
Joe Lolley is the perfect alternative to Bowen, and could even be the preferred option given his affinity to the club.
He is a self-proclaimed Villa fan and has been linked with a move from Nottingham Forest for some time.
The right winger’s ball control is hugely impressive and he has registered more assists than his opposite man, 11 to Bowen’s four.
Lolley has, however, only scored 12 goals to Bowen’s 22 but that is still a very impressive tally for a winger.
Source : 90min