Aston Villa transfer prediction after 'bickering' Europe exit

Neil Lennon
Neil Lennon expects NSWE to invest in Villa -Credit:Getty Images

Neil Lennon expects Aston Villa owners Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens to 'invest heavily' in their squad this summer - certainly within what they're able to spend according to the Financial Fair Play rules - after their Europa Conference League journey came to an end on Thursday night.

A depleted Villa were beaten 2-0 by Olympiacos in Greece, and 6-2 on aggregate over the two legs of the semi-final tie, but they remain very much in the driving seat when it comes to claiming the final Champions League place across the course of their last couple of Premier League matches.

The two defeats to Olympiacos sandwiched Villa's loss down at Brighton last Sunday and, with as many as eight first team players missing because of injury, it's been reasoned that the skinny senior group available currently to Unai Emery are feeling the effects of the relentless schedule and are showing signs of fatigue.

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For former Celtic and Leicester midfielder turned pundit Lennon, there were elements of Villa's evening in Piraeus which he recognised as being related to frustration and tiredness, as Lions players could be seen having exchanges with each other during breaks in play. In the wider picture, though, Lennon sees a club with the ambition of the manager, leading the team, which is matched by the ownership.

"They felt the tie got away from them," Lennon told BBC Radio 5Live. "There was a lot of bickering, gesticulating and that comes from frustration, tiredness, all those things. They've had a great season, if they can secure fourth place and then build for the Champions League next season, there's no doubt about it they're an ambitious club.

"They have ambitious owners, they'll invest heavily in the summer and it's the small steps in the right direction. They just came unstuck against a very good, well organised side who are European savvy. This is Villa's first foray in Europe for quite a while. They can take the positives but perhaps it was a tie too far for them."

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