Aston Villa is the Premier League’s only participant in this season’s Europa Conference League, or at least at this group stage.
Aston Villa double up
On Friday they had good news as they completed a top deal in the transfer market before the window closed, and they also learned about their opponents in the opening stages of the continent’s third-tier trophy. This is not a competition to be jeered at, though, as supporters of West Ham United will tell you, as they went on to lift the trophy last season.
Villa will travel across Europe in a tournament that manager Unai Emery will want to have success in. They got past Scottish side Hibernian 8-0 on aggregate in the preliminary round. Dutch side AZ Alkmaar, Polish team Legia Warsaw, and HSK Zrinjski from Bosnia and Herzegovina fill their group, and they will not be complacent in this early stage.
Away from the draw that was held in Monaco, there was a small matter of tying up some business before the summer transfer window closed, and the most high-profile acquisition was that of Clement Lenglet on loan from Barcelona.
The centre-back has agreed a season-long loan and is no stranger to these shores as he played for Tottenham Hotspur last year and scored in their win over Marseille in the Champions League.
“I’m very, very happy to be here. It’s a real pleasure. I played against the team last year with Tottenham and it was really, really difficult to play against Villa.” He told the club website.
"Emery was pleased to get the defender signed up. “Lenglet was a good opportunity. He has experience playing at a high level in Europe. He has the capacity to help and support Pau Torres in the same side. I am happy.” This was Villa’s fifth summer recruit following the signings of Pau Torres, Moussa Diaby, Youri Tielemans, and Nicolo Zaniolo."