Tim Sherwood explains Aston Villa's French revolution

Aston Villa Sign

Four of the club's nine summer signings have come from Ligue 1.

Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood has told AVTV that the club’s summer raid on French football is down to both Ligue 1’s similarities to the Premier League and favourable prices.

Villa have raised close to £44.25 million this summer from the sales of Fabian Delph, Christian Benteke, Andreas Weimann and Matthew Lowton, and in turn have spent a combined total of around £43.5 million on nine signings.

Four of those players arrived from the French top-flight last month, with midfielder Idrissa Gueye [Lille, £9 million], left-back Jordan Amavi [Nice, £10 million], striker Jordan Ayew [Lorient, £8.5 million] and midfielder Jordan Veretout [Nantes, £7 million] all expected to be regular fixtures in Sherwood’s starting XI.

The Villa boss admits that their asking prices made them attractive targets but also stresses that the resemblances between Ligue 1 and Premier League football will help make the transition to England a smooth one.

“I think they’re good fits for the football club,” he told AVTV. “Obviously Ligue 1 is very good value at this current moment in time for players of that quality and it’s the market where I think the football resembles the premier league far more than other leagues, so the transition should be easier for those guys.

“It’s still going to take some time but we’re going to try to make that transition as quick as possible.

“We’re not buying players just because they’re cheap but we’re certainly buying players of the quality we’ve brought in at good value, in our opinion, and still have the capability of making money on them.

“But we don’t want to do that – we don’t want to sell our best players – but, as you’ve seen over the past few weeks, something you can’t stop people going and have to rebuild.

“We hope we come to that situation where they outgrow this football club but they’re going to have to do very well to outgrow a football club of the size of Aston Villa.”

Having lost star players Delph and Benteke to Manchester City and Liverpool, respectively, due to release clauses in their contracts, Sherwood has been handed a sizeable rebuilding project in his effort to ensure Villa avoid another relegation-threatened season.

Nevertheless, while he thinks the recent signings, which also include Spanish defender Jose Angel Crespo [Cordoba, £500,000] and towering target man Rudy Gestede [Blackburn Rovers, £6 million], will need some time to gel, the ex-Tottenham Hotspur head coach is adamant that the club have spent smart so far.

“It’s obviously a rebuilding process going on here and people are working very hard behind the scenes to help me acquire the new signings,” he added. “We can’t worry about what we’ve lost. It’s my job now to rebuild this squad and make it competitive in the Premier League.

“We had to do it. We’ve had to use the money from Christian and Fabian and spend it as wisely as possible and it’s my job now to gel these guys as quickly as possible.”

With the likes of Gabby Agbonlahor, Carles Gil and Jack Grealish being fitness doubts, here is how Villa could line up for Saturday's Premier League opener at Bournemouth:

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