Belfast Telegraph

Smith wary of clubs spending big to reach Premier League

Villa were close to administration after losing the Championship play-off final in 2018.

Aston Villa manager Dean Smith is wary of spending too much (Nigel French/PA)
Aston Villa manager Dean Smith is wary of spending too much (Nigel French/PA)

By Nick Mashiter, PA

Aston Villa boss Dean Smith has warned no club is too big to suffer financial problems.

Villa go to Crystal Palace on Saturday following a £130million summer spending spree.

It came just a year after the club almost slipped into administration following their failure to win promotion back to the Premier League in 2018 under former owner Tony Xia.

Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens’ buy out saved Villa before they went up via the play-offs last season but Bury’s collapse this week and Bolton’s plight has put football finances into sharper focus.

Smith managed Walsall in Sky Bet League One on a strict budget and knows how difficult it is to balance the books but insisted any club could be at risk if they overspend.

He said: “There are an awful lot of big football clubs in the Championship who are pushing the boat out trying to get back into the Premier League because of the financial rewards that are in there.

“Tread that path with caution because not every team can be successful and the ones that aren’t are the ones who can get caught out.

“I followed it, it was scary times for a club like Aston Villa to potentially go into liquidation. Fortunately, the owners came in at the right time.”

Despite their outlay, including spending a record £22million on striker Wesley, Smith also confirmed for the first time Villa cooled their interest in Neal Maupay because of his price tag.

The striker, who Smith worked with at Brentford, joined Brighton from the Bees for £20million but the money talked about was too high for Villa.

“Maupay, for instance, I personally thought at that time was a little bit too much,” said Smith.

“I love him as a player but the numbers that were getting talked about for me were too much.

“There are a lot of players out there you would obviously like.

“What you want if you are going to bring a player in is you want to increase that value.

“What you don’t want is to decrease it because otherwise, you are not doing a very good job.”

PA

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