Aston Villa Football Club was one of the founding members of the English Football League in 1888. However, they were founded way back in 1874. It is fair to say they have had their ups and downs in recent history.
Like most top-flight English football clubs, the Villans have a history of spending on players to improve their squad. Here are Villa’s ten most expensive signings:
Emiliano Buendia (Signed for a fee of £34.56m signed from Norwich)
The Argentinian playmaker arrived in the summer of 2021 for a fee of £34.56m from Norwich. He had been one of the Canaries’ better players as the team Norfolk won promotion back to the Premier League, scoring 15 goals and producing 17 assists in his last season in the Championship. Buendia arrived as a replacement for the outgoing Jack Grealish.
However, his performances and numbers have not been quite as impressive for the Villans in the English top flight as they were in the second tier. In his 51 appearances for the men from the Midlands, Buendia has scored just five goals and produced seven assists. His signing was a gamble, but only time will tell if it pays off.
Ollie Watkins (Signed for a fee of £30.6m from Brentford)
The now-England international arrived from Brentford in the summer of 2020. Watkins had previously been a prolific goalscorer in the lower leagues, and his goals earned him the chance at top-level football with Villa.
Some doubted Watkins’ ability to step up to the Premier League. However, in his first season in the English top flight, he scored 14 goals and produced five assists. The forward also scored a respectable 11 times in his second top-flight campaign.
In terms of value, he has been a relative hit. A return of 29 goals and nine assists in 90 appearances for the Villans is a decent return for a forward who didn’t cost a fortune by Premier League standards, even if he did arrive as Villa’s record signing.
Leon Bailey (Signed for a fee of £28m from Leverkusen)
Bailey joined Villa in the summer of 2021 from Bayer Leverkusen. The Jamaican winger’s performances for Die Werkself had attracted the attention of other Premier League clubs before his switch to the Villans, including reportedly Manchester United and Everton.
The mercurial winger has yet quite to find his feet in the Premier League. Several niggling injuries and fitness issues have prevented him from ever really getting going with the Villans. In fact, he has made just 31 appearances for Villa in all competitions, which has yielded four goals and four assists.
If he can stay fit and injury-free, then Bailey has the talent to become a big hit with the Villans. However, that seems a big.
Diego Carlos (Signed for a fee of £27.9m from Sevilla)
The Brazilian centre-back joined in the summer of 2022 from Spanish outfit Sevilla. During his time in Andalusia, he established himself as one of the most reliable centre-backs in La Liga. Like Bailey, Carlos had been linked with moves to other English top-flight clubs before making the switch to Villa.
Unfortunately for Villa, Diego Carlos sustained a serious injury in just his second outing for the club. He was initially expected to miss the rest of season 2022/23, but updates on his fitness suggested he was likely to return to action before the season ends.
Lucas Digne (Signed for a fee of £27m from Everton)
The French full-back arrived from Everton in the January 2022 transfer window. Digne built a reputation as one of the best attacking full-backs in the Premier League during his time on Merseyside.
However, the Toffees needed funds to strengthen their squad in January and decided to sell the former Barcelona star. Digne has made a solid start to his Villa career, producing four assists and scoring one goal in 25 appearances for the Villans.
Danny Ings (Signed for a fee of £26.48m from Southampton)
The sale of Jack Grealish funded the forward’s arrival from Southampton in the summer of 2021. Ings was prolific with the Saints, as he scored 46 times in 100 appearances for the team from the south coast.
Although Ings has not always started games, often rotating with Watkins, he has still scored 11 goals and produced seven assists for Villa in 44 appearances. That number might have been higher if he had started games on a more regular basis.
Wesley (Signed for a fee of £22.5m from Club Brugge)
The Brazilian forward arrived at Villa in 2019 after scoring 17 times for Club Brugge in the previous season. He struggled for goals in his debut season, finding the net just five times in 21 Premier League.
He struggled for first-team football in his second season. Villa then allowed the forward to join Internacional on loan before he joined Spanish outfit Levante at the start of the 2022/23 season, once again on loan. His Villa contract doesn’t expire until 2024, but it seems unlikely that we will ever see the Brazilian in a Villa shirt.
Tyrone Mings (Signed for £20.07m from Bournemouth)
The centre-back joined Villa in 2019 and has become of the club’s key players. His performances and leadership for Villa led to Mings becoming a regular in Gareth Southgate’s England squads.
A fallout with head coach Steven Gerrard earlier in season 2022/23 led to suggestions that Mings could leave the Villans. However, with the ex-Rangers boss no longer at the club, Mings is likely to be a key player for Villa once again.
Darren Bent (Signed for £19.35m from Sunderland)
The forward became the club’s record signing when he joined from Sunderland in 2010. Bent arrived with a big reputation as a goal poacher. He enjoyed a respectable two-and-half-year spell with the Villans, scoring 25 goals in 72 games.
After several loan spells away from the club, Bent left the Midlands club permanently in 2015 when he joined Derby County on a free transfer.
Philippe Coutinho (Signed for £18m from Barcelona)
When Aston Villa signed Coutinho on loan in the January transfer window of 2022, it felt like the Villans had pulled off a coup. Coutinho enjoyed a decent temporary spell in the second half of season 2021/22, scoring five times.
In the summer of 2022, Villa decided to make the move a permanent one by paying Barcelona a fee of £18m. Coutinho may never get back to the form he produced during his career-high point at Liverpool. However, the fee is a relatively low one, and he could well turn out to be a bargain for the Villans.