Quite a few players have left Aston Villa over the past few months and it does warrant a post, because quite a large chunk of money has been saved from the wage bill and don't forget, quite a large chunk of cash has also come in.
Brad Friedel, Nigel Reo-Coker, John Carew, Robert Pires, Sali Salifou, Isaiah Osbourne, Ashley Young, Stewart Downing, Luke Young, Jonathan Hogg and Jean Makoun have all left. Now, I don't profess to have contacts inside the club, or relationships with the players or owner, so I couldn't tell you for sure what these players earned, but I think a conservative guess would be £300,000 a week or to make it a little more relevant, £15,000,000 a year.
Now, I could be a little over, but I think I'm more than likely a low on my guesswork and when you factor in some of the other players that have left, I think it is a fair guess but if we found out one day that it was actually a lot closer to £20,000,000 a year in salaries, I'd not be surprised.
Add to the savings the income generated from the sale of Ashley Young and Stewart Downing, close to or around the £35,000,000 mark and you've got to be, if you were the owner of the club, quite happy. But then you've got to add the £13,000,000 spent on N'Zogbia and Given and probably something close to £5,000,000 a year in salaries. Still, you'd be happy wouldn't you?
Lerner is a happy man
You'd have to be happy because that £10,000,000 a year you are saving in salaries isn't just £10,000,000 and when you double it, for the second year, then add another £10,000,000, you start to see huge savings. But it won't be £10,000,000 by close of business tomorrow as I expect one more player to come in, although if it happens, I'll also be a little disappointed.
Now, I really do need to stress that most of the figures above are guess work. I've guessed that we sold Downing for £20mn and Ashley Young for £15mn just like I've guessed we paid £9.5mn for N'Zogbia and £3.5mn for Given. I'm also guessing we are paying them each £45,000 a week, just like we paid Friedel, Reo-Coker, Carew, Downing and Luke Young £45k a week.
The other figures I used in my salary guesswork were £20k a week for PIres and Makoun, £10k a week for Salifou, Osbourne and Hogg and £65k a week for Ashley Young. All guesswork and when I came up with my £300,000 a week, if you do the math, you'll see that I rounded it down.
Show me the money
So, why am I writing about the money? Well, with these savings it is going to make the business look a lot stronger. It is going to position the business ready for fresh investment. Now, I'm not saying that Lerner is selling up, he could be the one willing to make this fresh investment, but in terms of potential, if the ship can now be steadied and the proper foundations that were built a long time before Lerner arrived, can be built on, it is there for the taking.
But I'm also writing about the money because if for a moment we can all agree that those weekly salaries are about right, that is one of the barriers to us playing regular Champions League football. We need to pay more. Young and Downing are both earning a lot more now and I'd bet my left foot that the same can be said for Barry and Milner.
It isn't just about paying £45,000 a week to five or six players - it is about paying £100,000 a week to two. Behaviour breeds behaviour and if we want to play at the highest level, we need to pay like we were at the highest level. The game is broken and that is the only way in these days. Extremely sad, but unfortunately true.
But that also coincides with the secret plan and developing from within. If we can get the best out of our players and then bring in two three or four players from outside to strengthen what we have, it is possible, but not players that have come to finish their career - players that are hungry and want to be successful.
To end the post; we don't need any more players.