Rating Aston Villa’s transfer window - reason to be optimistic?

The Villains were among the most active clubs as Tim Sherwood reshaped his squad.

Villa Park has been the scene of major upheaval this summer with 13 arrivals and 14 departures over the past three months.

This campaign was always going to be Tim Sherwood's acid test after his heroics last season in steering Aston Villa clear of the drop and reaching the FA Cup final.

His intentions were obvious and the former Spurs boss quickly set about dismantling the squad he had inherited and rebuilding with a clear ethos in mind - pace and power.

The Villans had to cope with the departures of key men Christian Benteke and Fabian Delph but have utilised the funds received well and haven’t been shy to shell out themselves.

Jordan Ayew, Idrissa Gueye and Jordan Amavi were the most high-profile acquisitions, arriving from Ligue 1 with burgeoning reputations - but three signings on the less glamourous end of the scale may yet prove to be the most shrewd.

Micah Richards on a free transfer was a fantastic piece of business and the former Manchester City man has already demonstrated the brute strength and athleticism that made him such a force a few years ago. The deadline-day signing of Joleon Lescott could also prove a masterstroke, adding much-needed experience and calm to Sherwood’s young side.

Ex-Blackburn striker Rudy Gestede, meanwhile, looks like being a defender's nightmare and provides a welcome alternative to Villa’s collection of diminutive forwards.

In a summer that could have proved disastrous, then, Aston Villa have reacted well to the loss of their two biggest stars and now boast an improved and better balanced squad.

Rating: 8/10

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