Aston Villa manager Roberto Di Matteo has admitted his frustration that the club could not keep hold of either Idrissa Gana or Ciaran Clark this summer due to release clauses inserted into their contracts under the previous regime.
Gana made a reported £7.1 million switch to Everton earlier this week after being linked with a move away since Villa’s relegation from the Premier League, while Ciaran Clark shortly followed him out the exit door for Championship rivals Newcastle United in a £5 million deal.
Speaking at his pre-match press conference ahead of Sunday’s season curtain-raiser at Sheffield Wednesday, Di Matteo noted that he tried to convince both players to stay but was ultimately powerless to prevent them from moving on.
“There was nothing we could do about those departures,” the Italian said. “They decided to leave the club. They had a buyout clause. Any club who triggered that meant it was not in our hands. That’s what we have inherited.
“I wish one more good luck than the other – because he’s a competitor of ours. They decided they wanted a new challenge. So we will move forward.”
Di Matteo has already moved to strengthen his squad with the money raised from the sales of Gana and Clark, snapping up Scottish striker Ross McCormack from Fulham for a £12 million fee.
The 29-year-old is Villa’s fourth signing of the summer after defender Tommy Elphick, goalkeeper Pierluigi Gollini and central midfielder Aaron Tshibola, and more reinforcements are expected to arrive in the near future.
The club currently have bids out for three players, with one believed to be Hull City forward Abel Hernandez [h/t Telegraph], and Di Matteo is optimistic that there will be a lot more business done between now and the close of the transfer window.
“Yes absolutely,” he said at this press conference when asked about the possibility of more arrivals. “Right now we have three bids out for players.
“We are looking to add to the team and strengthen the team more.”