The 2022/23 season was a rollercoaster for Aston Villa. They started off poorly under Steven Gerrard and looked as if they would be embroiled in a relegation battle for much of the campaign.
However, once the ex-Liverpool man was replaced by Unai Emery, the club's fortunes took an immediate upturn.
In the end, Emery steered Villa to a seventh-placed finish in the Premier League, which means Villa Park will host European football next season. Knowing that his team will be playing the dreaded Thursday-Sunday combination until December at least, Emery is keen to bolster his squad ahead of the new season.
With that in mind, a busy summer is expected at Aston Villa as the Spaniard looks to launch an assault on yet another European triumph.
Here are this summer's confirmed transfer ins and out at the club so far.
- 1 Aston Villa new signings: Summer 2023 arrivals
- 2 Aston Villa's transfer departures
Aston Villa new signings: Summer 2023 arrivals
Aston Villa didn't waste any time in getting their first new player in through the door this summer when they snapped up Youri Tielemans on a free transfer at the start of June. The Belgian midfielder has played in the Premier League since 2019 with Leicester City but left this summer upon the expiration of his contract. Tielemans is an all-action midfielder who will go straight into the Aston Villa starting XI as an important player.
Youri Tielemans didn't take long to decide on joining #AVFC after speaking with Unai Emery.
“Aston Villa convinced me. The coach convinced me. The project convinced me. That’s why it didn’t take me so long to choose…the project is very clear. Villa is really ambitious.”
— John Townley (@johntownley11) June 18, 2023
With World Cup winner Emiliano Martinez under the woodwork, coach Unai Emery should feel safe his team will have a solid defensive record. However, the Spanish manager seems to think his backline needs further strengthening, as Pau Torres is the latest player to boost Aston Villa’s ranks.
After spending seven years in La Liga, the 26-year-old defender is heading north. He made 197 official appearances for Villarreal and 38 for Malaga during the 2018/19 season.
Pau Torres’ desire to open a new chapter in his professional career is due to the fact that Villarreal are stagnating in recent years. Aston Villa seems like the place where the former Yellow Submarine defender can shine, as the Unai Emery project is getting more menacing by the day.
The £33m that Aston Villa paid for Torress is the second-highest fee in the club’s history, only bested by the £38m paid for Argentine Puendia back in 2021. Pau Torres had one year left on his Villarreal contract, but Unai Emery’s desire to bring him to Villa Park proved decisive as the 26-year-old penned a three-year deal with Villa.
Moussa Diaby is now officially the most expensive player in Aston Villa’s history. The 24-year-old’s services didn’t come cheap at a whopping £51.90m deal. According to rumors, the deal has performance-related bonuses attached to it, so we might just see that number rise to £60m.
This club-record deal means coach Emery has high hopes that Diaby will be the one to cause mayhem on the right side of the pitch. The 24-year-old winger blossomed into a magnificent right-winger at BayArena, where he made 125 appearances for Bayer Leverkusen. During his time in Germany, Diaby found the net on 31 occasions.
Diaby opens his Villa account on his Premier League debut! 😍 pic.twitter.com/gSipJjqLP1
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) August 12, 2023
Moussa has the right stuff to be a top-notch Premier League player as well, so you can’t fault Emery for pursuing him, with his transfer fee somewhat justifiable on his debut as he scored against Newcastle United in style.
Arriving on a season-long loan with a conditional compulsory purchase option, Emery welcomed his fourth summer acquisition in the form of Italian sensation Nicolo Zaniolo.
The versatile 24-year-old arrives from Turkey after a quick spell with the Lions following his transfer from Roma in February. The loan fee is reported to be in the region of £4.25m, with the option to buy the midfielder if conditions are met for £19.2m plus an add on of £13.2m.
The star will bring a host of attacking prowess to Villa Park, with him being a welcomed addition following the injury to Emiliano Buendia just before the season commenced.
Signing on an initial loan, Aston Villa have looked to replace Tyrone Mings, who could be out for an extended spell after he injured himself in Villa's 5-1 opening-day loss against Newcastle United. Langlet played 26 appearances for Tottenham last season on loan, and will look to get a first-team place at Villa. It's expected that Villa will pay a majority of Lenglet's wages from parent club Barcelona.
Aston Villa's transfer departures
Ashley Young – end of contract
The biggest name to depart Villa Park this summer is Ashley Young. The experienced full-back had played a key role for the club since returning on a free transfer in 2021, but Emery has made the difficult decision to let him go. With Young off the books, Emery will be keen to bring in at least one more full-back this summer, given the amount of game time the 37-year-old had last season.
Jed Steer – end of contract
Goalkeeper Jed Steer is another player who has left the club this summer due to an expiring contract. The 30-year-old has been on Villa's books for 10 years but has only ever appeared in 19 league games for the club. He will now seek to join a club where first-team football is guaranteed as he enters the second part of his career.
Marvelous Nakamba – Lutton Town
29-year-old Marvelous Nakamba’s stay at Villa Park wasn’t a positive experience for the Zimbabwean. During his four years with Aston Villa, he made only 59 appearances for the club, not scoring a single goal. Not that it is his job to do so, he’s just a defensive midfielder, but you’d expect at least a couple of returns in four years of football.
Feeling unwanted, Nakamba had no option but to accept newly-promoted Lutton Town’s tempting offer. The new kid on the block handed Villa a £2.90m offer for their defensive midfielder, but Unai Emery was quick to accept it. Nakamba became Lutton Town’s fourth key signing in the summer of 2023 after the arrival of Ogbene, Andersen, and Chong.
Wesley Moraes – Stoke City
The Wesley Moraes – Aston Villa love story was just not meant to be. The 26-year-old Brazilian striker joined Villa back in 2019, but only made 25 appearances for his club. During his four-year spell, he was mostly loaned out to clubs such as Club Brugge, Internacional, and Levante.
However, it seems that much-admired manager Alex Neil saw something in Moraes. That’s why we saw Stoke City poach him away from Villa Park a couple of weeks ago. Wesley Moraes signed a three-year deal with Stoke.
Aaron Ramsey – Burnley
After a 12 year association with the Midlands club, Aaron Ramsey departed Villa Park for Burnley in a deal worth £14m. The 20-year-old leaves his brother Jacob at Villa, as he moves onto pastures new with Vincent Kompany as his advisor.
The versatile winger signed a 5 year contract with the Clarets, with his contract including a buy-back option for his boyhood club to exploit if they wish in the future.
Making four senior appearances for Villa, the time was right for the youngster to move on as he reaches a critical stage of his budding career, where minutes at senior level are vital to progression.
Morgan Sanson – Nice (loan)
Another switch around in midfield saw Morgan Sanson leave on a season-long loan to OGC Nice, returning to his homeland to gain regular game time away from the Premier League.
The Frenchman signed for the Villans back in 2021 from Marseille, where he has since made 23 appearances in all competitions.
It will be beneficial for the 29-year-old to return to Ligue 1 after struggling for consistent game time in the Midlands.
Cameron Archer (Sheffield United)
Another young player leaving Aston Villa is Cameron Archer, who moves to Premier League new boys Sheffield United. Archer made his debut in the 2019 Carabao Cup, scoring his first goal, and hat-trick, against Barrow in the same cup in 2021. Archer spent last season on loan at Middlesbrough, scoring 11 times in 20 appearances.
Archer will now link up with Sheffield United, a side desperate to kick on since joining the Premier League this season.