Remi Garde tackles criticism of Aston Villa's overseas summer signings

Rémi Garde

Plenty have blamed the club's current struggles on the decision to target untried foreign players in the summer market.

Aston Villa manager Remi Garde has refused to blame the club’s overseas summer signings for his side’s current struggles, insisting that the malaise at B6 set in long before this season.

Villa currently sit 11 points from safety at the foot of the Premier League with only eight points and one win from 20 games and have scored a division-low 16 goals.

Their historically poor campaign comes after a summer which saw them bring in 13 players with the funds raised from the sales of star men Fabian Delph and Christian Benteke, with a chunk of the new recruits arriving from abroad.

Jordan Ayew, Idrissa Gana, Jordan Veretout and the currently injured Jordan Amavi were all signed from Ligue 1, while Adama Traore and little-used defender Jose Angel Crespo both came from Spain.

There have been plenty of flashes of class from some of the aforementioned players, with Ayew and Veretotut standing out as the club’s two star performers over recent weeks, but that has not stopped critics from arguing that their now-notorious transfer committee should have targeted more proven Premier League commodities instead of splashing out on foreign potential.

Nevertheless, while Garde admits that he does not know what went on behind the scene before his arrival in early November, he insists that the new foreign players are not the root cause of the problem.

Speaking ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup third round clash with Wycombe Wanderers at his pre-match press conference, the Frenchman said: “I don’t know what happened before – what the possibility of the market was in the summer. I don’t know about the strategy the club wanted to have at that time.

“I don’t want to judge. Now you can look at every team in the Premier League, in La Liga, in France, in the Bundesliga, within Europe there is a mix. You also have to accept that without losing the culture of your country and club, which for me is very important.

“I can just say to you that maybe if you look at the previous four or five years it was the same problem. It has been a long time, but four years ago it was not the players who came in the summer that created this problem. I’m not sure that the players who came in the summer are the only problem at this football club.”

Garde has failed to lead Villa to a win since replacing Tim Sherwood at the helm, despite some improved performances, recording four draws and five defeats in his first nine games in charge.

Back-to-back losses to Norwich City and Sunderland, respectively, over the past two matches have left the club with a mountain to climb to retain their top-flight status, but the Frenchman is still keen to strengthen his struggling side in the current transfer window while there remains a faint chance of survival.

The former Lyon boss will not be ignoring overseas-based players either when it comes to the search for new blood, insisting that his squad needs to have the right blend of foreign and domestic talent.

“I try to mix,” Garde added at his presser. “My first criteria is, 'how good is the player I am trying to attract?’, and, of course, I would like to have a balance because I know this is very important.

“But then sometimes the price in the market is different in every country. Sometimes money is decided by a lot of things, but I’m aware about the need for balance in the dressing room.”

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