There wasn’t much mourning among Aston Villa supporters when much-maligned midfielder Ashley Westwood departed for Premier League Burnley in the January transfer window. Rather, many fans simply couldn’t hide their disbelief that the club had somehow earned £5 million on a player they signed for half that amount from Crewe Alexandra five years previously, The Guardian reports.
And, regardless of whether you believe Westwood was harshly singled out by supporters and made a scapegoat for mistakes the entire club should have answered for, the simple fact is that the additions of Henri Lansbury and Connor Hourihane represent a significant upgrade.
Westwood may be a safe pair of hands, a neat and tidy midfield player, but he is hardly a player capable of inspiring supporters or hogging the headlines. In fact, his penchant for a sideways pass meant that fans usually vented their frustrations at the midfielder, rightly or wrongly.
And although injury has restricted him to just four appearances since swapping one claret and blue club for another, the 26-year-old is yet to justify why Sean Dyche paid such a handsome sum for his services in January.
He started useful draws with Chelsea and Hull City either side of playing the full 90 in that FA Cup calamity at home to non-league Lincoln City, but came off the bench in disappointing defeats to Watford and Swansea.
Overall, however, his pass accuracy has dropped a whole 10 per cent during two months at Burnley (68%) while his tackles per game tally has fallen to just one. Some supporters have even asked for Scott Arfield to be returned to the team in his place.
Furthermore, a number of fans have already begun taking to social media to ask the time honoured question; what does Ashley Westwood actually do?
For £5 million, the pressure is on Dyche to find the answer.