Aston Villa the Premier league mainstay but it is Bournemouth that are the model of consistency

Tim Sherwood’s Aston Villa are undergoing a serious re-jig, writes Richard Jolly.

Tim Sherwood, the former Tottenham Hotspur manager, has brought in new players to Villa Park. Neville Williams / Getty Images
Powered by automated translation

In an indication of the shift in the footballing landscape, a team that began life 125 years ago as Boscombe St John’s Institute will finally play a top-flight game on Saturday.

Bournemouth, as they are now known, have become the 47th club to enter the Premier League. They host one of its ever presents, participants in the inaugural season of the Football League and FA Cup winners before Boscombe St John’s Institute first emerged.

The temptation, then, is to paint Aston Villa as the paragons of continuity and Bournemouth as the unknown ­quantity.

A glimpse at the teamsheet could offer a different ­impression.

Eddie Howe has made nine signings but the core of his team should be constituted by his promotion winners.

Tim Sherwood’s FA Cup finalists have been disbanded, with five of those who started the 4-0 thrashing by Arsenal gone.

A sixth, Kieran Richardson, will seemingly have to switch position if he is to feature regularly this season.

The scale of the change is such that Micah Richards will debut as captain because last season’s leaders, Fabian Delph and Ron Vlaar, are gone, along with Shay Given, Tom Cleverley and Christian Benteke.

Sherwood, who was a glorified caretaker at Tottenham, now has to be architect and builder alike at a team that represents something of a laboratory.

This is an experiment if Sherwood, a motivator with an enviable winning percentage in his brief coaching career, has the transfer-market nous to back up his bravado.

A manager who had never made a signing before this summer, now has three called Jordan.

Jordan Amavi should displace Richardson at left-back, Jordan Veretout, along with Idrissa Gueye, should help replace Cleverley and Delph in midfield.

Jordan Ayew brings pace and skill to the forward line, albeit undermined by inconsistency and a record that proves he has only reached 10 league goals once in a season.

All four have arrived from Ligue 1 in France and Sherwood, who had seemed emblematic of a certain strain of Englishness, said his Francophone additions may have linguistic problems in Britain.

Despite the common denominators among their names, Sherwood’s signings are an eclectic bunch, brought in from England and France and addressing each department of the team.

The search for a theme can incorporate players with a point to prove — Richards, who has played frustratingly little first-team football in the past three years, certainly has — and youth.

Yet Sherwood has sought a reunion with Emmanuel Adebayor, whom he rejuvenated at Tottenham Hotspur, and talked with Dimitar Berbatov, another former Spurs striker.

Lacking either, the spearhead to his side and the closest equivalent to Benteke available, is Rudy Gestede.

The Benin forward was prolific for Blackburn Rovers but barely featured for Cardiff City in the Premier League.

The £6 million (Dh34.1) target man scored 20 Championship goals last season and Sherwood said no other striker in the country can rival his aerial ability.

“He terrorises defenders,” the Villa manager said.

As Villa only scored 12 goals in Paul Lambert’s past 25 league games in charge, that is something they did too infrequently before Sherwood’s arrival.

His predecessor is proof summer overhauls can be regular affairs at Villa Park. Lambert brought in eight players in 2012 and, while Benteke yielded a huge profit, only Ashley Westwood of those arrivals is likely to feature much for Sherwood this year.

His own spending amounts to about £40m, but Villa recouped a similar amount for Delph and Benteke.

Viewed one way, Sherwood is a big spender; seen another, he is a man who has seen his side ripped asunder.

It could be an ambitious rebuilding project or a desperate attempt to prevent Villa regressing. Whichever it is, change is intriguing.

FOLLOW US ON TWITTER @NatSportUAE