The owners of Aston Villa could not have expressed their ambitions more clearly after the arrival of Johan Lange as the club’s new sporting director.
Lange comes after six years in a similar position with FC Copenhagen where, alongside former Wolverhampton Wanderers coach Stale Solbakken, he has won three league titles and a trio of Danish cups.
Now he’s taking on the biggest job of his career so far, replacing Jesus Garcia Pitarch – known as Suso – as Villa’s transfer chief after Dean Smith’s side ensured their survival in Premier League.
Billionaire owners Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens have always had big plans for the club since taking over from Tony Xia two years ago and they have once again explained their vision for the club.
“We are pleased to welcome Johan to Aston Villa as we continue to build a world class organization,” they said.
“Last season we were able to go through a very difficult transition to the Premier League and we are satisfied with the efforts made to stay in place.
“But we won’t be happy until we reach our goal of bringing lasting success to Aston Villa at the highest level of European football.
“We have made significant strides in building an organization and culture that will support success. “
Aston Villa are among a host of Premier League clubs that have been linked with a summer move from Levante midfielder José Gómez Campaña.
Campaña – a former Spain Under-21 international – is sort of a journeyman having already plied his trade in five different countries.
He had a brief stint in England with Crystal Palace but didn’t make a big impression at Selhurst Park before leaving for Sampdoria in 2014.
Campaña have spent the last four seasons in Spain with Levante and played a key role in their 12th place finish last season.
His form has sparked interest from England with El Desmarque suggesting that Villa is keen to secure his services. Newly promoted Leeds United, Everton and Arsenal are also reportedly keeping an eye on Campaña.
Aston Villa’s first team coaching set-up was a topic of discussion in our latest Claret & Blue podcast.
News that Jesus Garcia Pitarch aka ‘Suso’ has already been replaced by Johan Lange as sporting director shows that Villa is wasting no time at all preparing even more for the Premier League after his superb survival from the latter day.
The automatic doors to Bodymoor Heath players’ entry are set to open and close again at a breakneck pace with transfers in and out ahead of the new season just around the corner.
But what about Dean Smith and his staff behind the scenes – what changes, if any, will be made to improve the squad behind the squad for 2020-2021?
Smith himself has justified the bold and loyal decision of owners Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens and CEO Christian Purslow to stay by his side even when the relegation zone is difficult.
But does Smith need a little more support by his side to make sure he’s able to train the absolute maximum of the existing players and the new players at his disposal?
As rumors continue to tie deputy boss John Terry to all sorts of top half league / lower half Premier League managerial jobs, will there be a vacancy in a villa anytime soon?
Even if there is none, BirminghamLive Football editor Mat Kendrick believes that yet another former Premier League winner deserves Deano to be drafted into his burgundy and blue background squad.
“I have a bit of a left-field theory,” Mat told our Claret & Blue podcast. “I think Villa should sign a Premier League winner.
“Let me explain. Craig Shakespeare is back in the market now that Nigel Pearson has been sacked at Watford. “
It’s a photo that says a thousand words as Tyrone Mings kissed Pepe Reina amidst scenes on the last day on the pitch at London Stadium.
Pure relief was wiped on the face of the man from Villa and England as he hugged his Spanish teammate as Aston Villa secured their big league status.
Mings, 27, again put on a colossal campaign in burgundy and blue and put his body on the line blocking the most balls in the Premier League (48).
Earlier this week, the center-half opened up about his mental struggles after winning his first cap with England in September last year.
“I had just been called for the first time and all of a sudden people expected me to be probably a lot better and a lot more experienced than I actually was,” he said, indicating how much the extremely important call affected his game.
“I found it affected my performance because naturally people would think, ‘Ah, I bet he thinks he’s done it and he’s better than he is now’ when that ‘ was just the opposite.
“I came back and found myself playing in myself because I didn’t want to make mistakes and didn’t want to put unnecessary pressure on myself. These are things that have nothing to do with football – it’s just a mentality. . ”
Fast forward to Mings, again enjoying three weeks off as a Premier League player, the £ 21million ace tonight recalled what was a monumental Sunday afternoon at West Ham.
Reflecting on such a roller coaster of a campaign for Villa, Mings shared a photo of himself and loaned out ace Reina and said, “I don’t know how either big man. There were times when it seemed unlikely, now is the time to keep that up and be better next season. ”