Aston Villa given clear transfer instruction as £200m comparison is drawn

Aston Villa owners Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens
Aston Villa owners Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens will likely need to spend this summer -Credit:Richard Lee/REX/Shutterstock

Danny Murphy believes Aston Villa must spend as much money as they're permitted to, within the Financial Fair Play regulations, this summer merely to stand still after their Champions League breakthrough under Unai Emery. Villa, against the pre-season odds, have finished ahead of and out of reach of Tottenham, Chelsea, Manchester United and Newcastle United with a game to spare.

They'll be dining at European football's top table from next season but - as Newcastle found out in a similar position this term - balancing those commitments while remaining ultra competitive from week to week in the Premier League is a particularly testing ask with potentially punishing results.

There'll be certainly an opportunity to spend this summer, though. Villa will rake in millions merely for participating in the Champions League and the revenue which comes with it, and so the ceiling will be higher. That means more for Emery to have at his disposal as he looks to flesh out the squad which has been decimated at intervening periods by injury this season.

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"We were having a conversation about Arsenal a while ago and that they'd probably have to spend £200m plus to stand still," Murphy told talkSPORT. "Villa are going to have to spend big to stand still. The big difference next year is playing in the Champions League. The intensity of those games, and the pressure physically and mentally of those games compared to playing in the Conference League are chalk and cheese.

"To be fair to them, when they've not got results more recently because of injuries, it's understandable because of the number of games they've played. They're going to have to back him, and if they do then they've got such a capable manager. I was there on Monday night for the game against Liverpool. I've been there quite a lot in recent times. The place was bouncing when that third goal went in."

Murphy, meanwhile, believes that Emery should be the Premier League manager of the year for his achievements from the Villa Park touchline this term; as well as guiding Villa to fourth, the club reached the semi-finals of the Europa Conference League.

"I think there's an argument for him to be manager of the year to be honest," Murphy added. "When we were talking at the beginning of the season, none of us gave Villa a prayer of top four. Very few. Man United, Chelsea, Newcastle, all those clubs. Now that Arteta isn't going to win the league, I'd say Emery is manager of the year and I think he'll be backed - but the reality is, how can you be competitive?

"With the financial restrictions, even if the owners were prepared to plough more in, there's only so much you can do now, to try and jump into that pool with the big boys. It seems bizarre that there isn't a way to fix that."

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