Aston Villa have spent some serious cash since they were relegated from the Premier League and it’s fair to say that a lot of that has been wasted.
Former owner Tony Xia significantly backed Roberto Di Matteo and did the same with Steve Bruce, but a play-off final defeat to Fulham last season means they remain in the second-tier.
And, for our latest FLW Rewind, we are going to look at one of the signings made by Bruce, who looked to have done some smart business when he brought in Icelandic midfielder Birkir Bjarnason from then Swiss champions Basel.
That’s certainly what the fans thought, with the reaction overwhelmingly positive.
bloody love it !!!!!!!! Soooooo pleased. Thanks everyone at vp. ????
— Claire ellis-m (@Claireellism2) January 25, 2017
This is the happiest I have ever been.
— HarveyAVFC (@GreedyGrealish) January 25, 2017
Splendid, indeed. This came out of nowhere !
— Jarkko Kyntäjä (@JarkkoKyn) January 25, 2017
fantastic singing. Onto the next one #avfc
— Jake (@NooneAVFC) January 25, 2017
Yet, despite arriving with good pedigree, Bjarnason has found it very difficult to establish himself as a regular at Villa Park in the two years since.
Firstly, under Bruce he had to be patient for his opportunity and he only played a bit-part role for the remainder of that season, which was understandable.
However, with a full pre-season under his belt, many hoped Bjarnason would show why he deserves a place in the team but again, it didn’t really happen.
There were promising signs though, with the ex-Sampdoria man finally starting to show what he could do from January last year and he had some memorable moments including goals against Bristol City and Wolves.
But, Bruce never really seemed to trust him and it’s the same now under Dean Smith.
Many hoped the possession-based approach favoured by the current boss would bring the best out of the 30-year-old, yet it’s been more of the same.
Bjarnason finds himself on the fringes and he looks as though he will be another Villa signing that failed to live up to expectations.