Do You Know Aston Villa’s Five Most Expensive Signings?

Looking at the biggest transfers to arrive in B6.

Every football fan wants their club to splash the cash on top talent, but more importantly, they want those in charge of the pursestrings to spend that money wisely. Throwing money at a problem isn’t always the answer. You only need to ask that lot from Old Trafford if you require proof of that fact or want a shining example of how to set fire to massive sums of money.

Previous Aston Villa owners have been criticized for not backing the manager or splurging on panic buys that were never going to work. The current regime has not only spent big but wisely, with our club’s five most expensive signings costing a combined £174.4 million, or approximately two Mykhalo Mudryks!

Moussa Diaby – £51.9 Million from Bayer Leverkusen

Few signings have excited Villans as much as getting the Moussa Diaby deal over the line in the summer. Villa fans from the United Kingdom and those placing a soccer bet in the USA were beside themselves at Diaby’s arrival. Diaby may have come with a hefty club-record £51.9 million transfer fee, but the electric Frenchman will be worth every penny if he manages to score the goals and create the chances that propel Villa into the UEFA Champions League spots.

We are still to see the best of Diaby on the pitch, but that is not to say he has been misfiring. Through 34 Premier League appearances, Diaby has scored six goals and has six assists, almost exactly matching the figures he put up during his short time with Paris Saint-Germain. If Diaby can reproduce figures anywhere near his 49 goals and 48 assists in 172 games for Bayer Leverkusen, the £51.9 million spent on him will seem like an incredible bargain.

Emiliano Buendia – £33 Million from Norwich City

The jury is still out regarding Emiliano Buendia, primarily because of the £33 million it cost to prize the Argentinian away from Norwich City’s Carrow Road. Buendia’s goals and assist numbers for the Canaries were jaw-dropping; she scored 24 goals and had 42 assists across 121 games. However, 15 goals and 17 assists came during the 2020-21 season when Norwich were flying and gained promotion with 97 points.

Buendia isn’t a bad player by any stretch of the imagination, but he’s never managed to turn on the style in the Premier League. Many fans had high hopes for Buendia this season, with Unai Emery giving his creative players more freedom to express themselves, but a knee injury suffered on the eve of this season looks set to keep Buendia on the sidelines for the entire campaign.

Pau Torres – £31.5 Million from Villareal

A few eyebrows were raised when we forked out £31.5 million for Spanish center-back Pau Torres, but that was only because the 6ft 3in giant of a man did not play for one of La Liga’s
more prominent clubs. However, Torres played under Emery at Villareal and was part of the Villareal team that became UEFA Europa League champions in 2020-21.

Torres made 173 appearances in La Liga and another 26 in Europe, including 12 games in the Champions League. He has also represented his country 24 times, and players do not tend to play for Spain without something special about them.

Emery had to throw Torres into first-team action faster than he would have liked due to Tyrone Mings’ season-ended knee injury. Still, Torres has shown time and time again that he is up to the task, and his contribution to Villa’s build-up play should not be underestimated.

Leon Bailey – £30 Million from Bayer Leverkusen

Leon Bailey arrived from Bayer Leverkusen in a reported £30 million deal with a glowing reputation. Across the 233 games he played for Genk and Leverkusen, Bailey found the back of the net 54 times and provided assists for 47 teammates; those are impressive figures.

Bailey’s first season in our famous claret and blue was punctuated with injuries that limited him to only 18 appearances (seven starts), two assists, and a single goal scored against Everton.

The Jamaican featured in 33 games last season, scoring and assisting four goals, but it’s fair to say that despite glimpses of brilliance, £30 million was starting to look like a lot of money for what Villa had received. However, this season, Bailey has been unplayable at times and often looks like a player worth twice the fee paid to Leverkusen back in August 2021. Seven goals and six assists in 22 Premier League games tell only part of the story; Bailey is set to enjoy the most productive campaign of his career.

Ollie Watkins – £28 Million from Brentford

Ollie Watkins has been revered by fans wherever he has played, and it is easy to see why. Brentford paid Exeter City £1.8 million to secure Watkins’ services after he scored 26 goals and 17 assists in 78 games for The Grecians as a youngster.

Watkins successfully stepped up from League Two to the Championship, although he wasn’t prolific for Brentford during his first two seasons with The Bees. All that changed during Bretford’s promotion-winning season in 2019-20, with Watkins scoring 25 and creating a trio of assists in 46 games.

His superb season prompted the Villa board to spend £28 million on Watkins, a fee that
could rise to £33 million if specific milestones are met. Watkins recently played in his 150th game for Villa, and he has 59 goals and 25 assists during that time, including 11 goals and 12 assists in 24 appearances this season. He is now one of the first names on the Villa team sheet, and if Gareth Southgate had anything about him, Watkins would be a regular starter for the England national team, too.

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