13. Aleksandar Tonev
When Aston Villa signed Aleksandar Tonev for around £2m, they hoped they’d found a gem. However, it wasn’t the case. The Bulgarian failed to adapt to life in England and barely made a positive impact, instead infuriating fans with his wasteful play. He managed just 17 appearances, didn’t score in any of them.
12. Curtis Davies
After joining Villa from West Brom initially on a loan deal, Davies must have impressed the club because they paid £8million to make the move permanent. Since then, it is almost as if Davies rested on his laurels completely.
After initially holding a first-team place, he then lost out to James Collins and Richard Dunne, and after two years moved on loan to Leicester City. Villa cut their losses by selling him for £3.5million to rivals Birmingham.
11. Moustapha Salifou
After Togo qualified for their first ever World Cup in 2006, Aston Villa signed Moustapha Salifou. The ‘Sali… Salifou’ chant – to the tune of ‘Daddy Cool’ – may have got more Premier League minutes than the player himself. And yet he remains a cult hero in the Midlands, despite failing to earn a single league start in his four years with the club.
Aston Villa broke their transfer record to sign Brazilian striker Wesley from Club Brugge in 2019, just weeks after the club secured promotion back to the Premier League. Villa were convinced that he was the man to score the goals to propel Villa to new heights in the Premier League.
Nearly six months after joining the club, Wesley’s future at Villa Park was then thrown into doubt following an injury. He sustained a serious cruciate knee ligament and was made to wait another 480 days to play competitive football again.
After making the comeback from injury he has been loaned out to help him regain form. He’s not done that, however, so it’s hard to see Wesley having a future at Villa Park.
9. Charles N’Zogbia
Ashley Young made his way to Manchester United in the summer of 2011 and we needed to fill his void. Charlie N’Zogbia looked to tick all the boxes following a stellar campaign with Wigan Athletic having practically kept them up singlehandedly.
However, he was a massive anti-climax at Villa having cost a little over £10m. In five years at Villa, he earned around £17m in wages and chipped in with just four goals. He even refused to accept a pay-off in the final months of his contract as he was happy to sit on his £66k-a-week wages.
8. Gilles De Bilde
De Bilde was described as “a non-trier” and criticized for a “lack of effort” by then Sheffield Wednesday’s manager Paul Jewell. De Bilde initially refused the loan deal from the Championship side on the grounds that he had nobody to feed his dogs.
Only when Jewell agreed to feed them in his absence, he accepted the 3-month loan deal. Suffice to say, his stay was devoid of both effort and anything worth recollecting.
7. Nigel Callaghan
Callaghan joined Aston Villa from Derby County in 1989. A lot was expected of him as he was more than decent during his tenure at Derby and Watford before. However, things didn’t go as planned. During his three seasons with the club, he was loaned out thrice. He played 26 games for Villa in total, scoring just 3 goals.