The last two few seasons for Aston Villa fans must have been hard work.
The clubs owner Randy Lerner seems to have lost interest in pumping money into the club and the Villans have struggled on the pitch for that lack of investment.
Last season the Villans finished 17th in the Premier League table just three points and one position away from the relegation berths.
To make matters worse the Villans have lost the likes of Christian Benteke and Fabian Delph, two of the teams more impressive players in recent years.
Villa have also lost centre-back Ron Vlaar and central midfielder Tom Cleverley, who was on-loan at the Villans from Manchester United last season. Villa fans will probably be the first to admit that neither of the pair had great seasons, or will be that greatly missed.
Cleverley enjoyed a brief run of consistency towards the end of the campaign, but for the rest of the campaign he struggled to justify his presence in the squad.
Vlaar made 20 Premier League appearances for the Villans last season, but did enjoy the greatest season of his career. Prior to last season the 30-year-old was being chased by Manchester United. However, he is now a free agent and will be out of action for four months with a knee injury.
Cleverley meanwhile decided to have a former-Wigan reunion with Spanish boss Roberto Martinez at Everton, as he opted to join the Toffees instead of signing a permanent deal with the Villans.
Vlaar and Cleverley may not be big losses, but Delph and Benteke will be major losses for the Villans this summer. Villa were powerless to keep their two star players as both had release clauses in their contracts.
It seemed like captain Delph was remaining with the Villans when he initially turned down a move to Manchester City, only to change his mind and complete a £8million move.
The 25-year-old was one of the few players in the Villa squad who has been consistent in the last few seasons, despite the team often under-performing.
Without a doubt there will be a giant Christian Benteke hole in the Villa attack in the coming campaign. The striker has been linked with a move away from Villa Park for a while and finally completed a £32.5million move to Liverpool on Wednesday.
The 24-year-old is unplayable on his day, but at times Villa simply did not create enough chances for the big striker. Even without much creativity to assist him, Benteke managed to score a very creditable 49 goals for Villa in three seasons.
Without Benteke it is hard to see who will score the goals for Villa in the coming season and that will be worrying boss Tim Sherwood.
Sherwood has been relatively active bringing players in this summer. The likes of Micah Richards, Idrissa Gueye, Scott Sinclair and Jordan Amavi have arrived in the Midlands, but it is hard to claim that the Villans squad is stronger than last season.
Richards could a very shrewd signing by Sherwood. The former Manchester City defender has struggled to fulfil the immense potential of his early career and joined the Villans as a free agent this summer. If he can stay fit then the Villans could have a gem of a player on their hands.
What is noticeably in the Villa arrivals is that Sherwood has not really added any creativity, or attacking players to his squad. Sinclair was on-loan at Villa Park last season and joined on a permanent basis this summer, but the rest of the new signings are defensive players.
Gueye is very much a defensive midfielder, while Richards is likely to take Vlaar’s former positon in the centre of the Villa defence and Amavi is a full-back.
The speculation over who Villa will sign as a replacement for Benteke is not exactly encouraging. The Villans have been linked with moves for Liverpool’s veteran striker Rickie Lambert and out-of-favour Tottenham star Emmanuel Adebayor.
The talk of a move for QPR striker Charlie Austin will be more to Villa fans taste I would imagine. The 26-year-old scored 18 goals in a poor QPR team last season, but is reported to be majorly in-demand this summer.
If I was a Villa fan right now I would be concerned that Sherwood has not added any creativity or firepower to his squad this summer. If they do not make further additions to their squad this summer then Villa could be in for another very long and hard campaign ahead.
Can Aston Villa avoid another relegation scrap?
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