What a summer it has been for Aston Villa.
It was a difficult season for Dean Smith's side last term as they were tasked with adapting to life in the Premier League after securing promotion.
While it was a struggle, Villa did secure their survival on the final day of the season - an achievement that set them up for another campaign in the top flight.
But this time they're aiming much higher.
The club have been incredibly busy so far in the transfer market and have worked tirelessly to add quality to the first team squad.
Matty Cash, Ollie Watkins and Emiliano Martinez all joined the club in recent weeks, while a £17million move for Bertrand Traore has also been completed.
That has taken the club's spending to around £74million, but they aren't finished yet.
At least that's the view of former midfielder Michael Brown who believes that the decision to extend Jack Grealish's contract earlier this week has sent a message over how high the club will be aiming over the coming years.
Speaking of Grealish's deal to Football Insider, Brown said: “It’s a great signing, you would have said he would have gone but obviously they’ve made a contract that he wants to sign and wants to commit his future to.
“Not only that, he sees his future there. He’s not signing it for the sake of it, he’s signing because he wants to play football there.
“It’s a great signing, they’re still trying to get a few more through the door. He sees that there’s progression there, this is natural progression for him and he must do with the length of the deal.
“They spent £100million-odd at the start of last summer, they’re probably at £50million-plus this summer, so you can see the intent from the board, no one can question the backing that Aston Villa are putting into the football club.”
GIVEMESPORT'S Phil Spencer says...
Aston Villa certainly mean business this summer.
After avoiding the drop the expectation was that they might add one or two new players to the squad as they geared up for a similar challenge this time around.
However these transfers are a real signal of intent.
Comparing their business to others in the bottom half of the league, I'd firmly expect Villa to kick on this season and finish safely in mid-table.
Extending Jack Grealish's contract was a major boost for the club, and as Michael Brown said the hope is that the team can be built around him and see themselves push into the top half over the next two or three years.
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