Emiliano Martinez admits that the £100 million sale of Jack Grealish this season had a big impact on Aston Villa.
After Grealish was sold to Manchester City in the summer, the Argentina international claims that the club’s third season in the Premier League, since getting promoted back to the top flight in 2019, was always going to be difficult. Villa paid £95 million to replace its old talisman with three new players.
Danny Ings, Leon Bailey, and Emiliano Buendia were all signed as a trio of players to replace Grealish’s influence, according to CEO Christian Purslow. Martinez, on the other hand, thinks that they all require time to adjust to their new environment.
Martinez said: “Obviously there has been investment at the club and everyone expected us to be top eight or top seven but it is difficult when there are so many changes in one season. We have been inconsistent but we have to realise we sold Jack, a homegrown player and the best we had at Villa.
“We have had to rebuild and find new players but they need time to adapt. We changed the manager in mid-season too, with a new philosophy. It isn’t as easy as it looks.”
When asked about the gap left by Grealish’s exit, he replied: “He was the best player we had. He was outstanding last season but we understood he needed to make that step. The signings we made were really positive but they needed time to adapt.
“You can see now at the end of the season the inconsistency as well because we have a new manager, a new philosophy. Next season, we will know what to do. It has been difficult inside (the club) but we have been very positive and we have double figures in clean sheets now. Saturday we showed how good we are defensively and it is something to build on for the final six games.”