Arguably the biggest shake up at Villa Park over the summer was the sacking of Alex McLeish and hiring of new boss and ex Norwich manager Paul Lambert. Lambert’s goal: to return the Villans to the heights of European qualification that they reached under Martin O’Neill not so long ago.
Villa’s transfer dealings have seen them restructure their entire defense. Carlos Cuellar’s time at the club never realized its potential and he was released along with Habib Beye.
Meanwhile, James Collins has re-joined West Ham, the club he spent four years at before his three-year spell at Villa Park.
The most notable signing to arrive has been Ron Vlaar from Eredivisie runners-up Feyenoord . The 27-year old Netherlands international has put pen to paper on a three-year deal that will surely see him line up alongside club captain and defensive stalwart Richard Dunne once the latter is fully fit.
The Villans have brought in three more players: defender Matthew Lowton from Sheffield United, midfielder Karim El Ahmadi form Feyenoord, and winger Brett Holman from AZ Alkmaar.
The 23-year-old Lowton boasts bags of potential and can line up in defense as well as in midfield. Leaping two divisions from League 1 side Sheffield United will be an exciting challenge for the youngster.
He may be thrust into the deep end quicker than expected as Stephen Warnock’s fitness is in doubt for the start of the season.
Moroccan El Ahmadi joins the club after helping Feyenoord to their best finish in the Eredivisie in a decade alongside fellow new signing Vlaar. With club captain Stiliyan Petrov out battling cancer, El Ahmadi will have a major role to play.
Holman is most likely a replacement for the departed Emile Heskey. The experienced Australia international (53 caps) is a winger but has also seen a lot of time as a second striker at former club AZ Alkmaar.