By Matt Farr
Aston Villa boss Steve Bruce has admitted the number of deals completed by the club in last month’s transfer window wasn’t planned.
The Villa chief conducted a grand total of 14 transfer deals, a combination of eight new arrivals and six departures.
However, despite insisting he was pleased with his transfer activity, he admitted to the Birmingham Mail that he was surprised at how many deals he was able to achieve in January.
In a revelation that may shock fans, who would prefer a more coherent plan, Bruce said: “I didn’t think at the start of January that I’d be making seven changes, six or seven out and six or seven in.
“January is usually not the place where it happens. It sort of fell into place – I’ve had to make big decisions, which is obviously what I get paid for.
“I’m very pleased with the work we’ve done – now is the crucial time.”
The January transfer window is not normally known as a time for players to move freely between clubs, as many sides are reluctant to let players go mid-way through the campaign; but Villa and Bruce bucked the trend last month.
Bruce made changes in every area of his squad, bringing in Sam Johnstone on loan from Manchester United as his new goalkeeper, while Neil Taylor, Jacob Bedeau and James Bree were three defensive additions.
The midfield underwent a major revamp with Henri Lansbury, Conor Hourihane and Birkir Bjarnason joining the ranks, and Scott Hogan was the icing on the cake on deadline day.
Pierluigi Gollini, Aly Cissokho, Ashley Westwood, Ross McCormack, Jordan Ayew and Aaron Tshibola all left the club.
The aim for Bruce and Villa now is for the new signings to gel well enough with one another to put the midlands club back in contention for promotion.
Villa are currently loitering in mid-table obscurity, 13 points adrift of the play-offs, and just eight points clear of the relegation zone.
They are winless in six Championship games, and will be desperate to return to winning ways against Ipswich on Saturday.
In other Aston Villa transfer news, Jordan Ayew has lifted the lid on the decision-making behind his move to Swansea.