In the summer of 2016 Aston Villa were preparing for life in the Championship after their relegation from the Premier League.
Roberto Di Matteo had been made manager and the Champions League winner had the tricky task of winning the club’s fans back onside after a disastrous Premier League campaign.
But the early transfer business had the fans optimistic of an instant return to the top flight with the likes of Ross McCormack, Jonathan Kodjia, James Chester, Scott Hogan and Mile Jedinak all arriving at Villa Park.
Another player who arrived was Leicester City right-back Ritchie De Laet.
This is FLW Rewind where we take a look back at a big moment from a club’s recent history, analyse the initial reaction and see what happened next.
— Aston Villa FC (@AVFCOfficial) August 23, 2016
One of Villa’s biggest problems in the previous season was their horrific defence so to see a proven Championship defender like De Laet arrive at the club was a boost to the fans.
They were not shy in hiding how happy they were with his arrival either…
— Paul Munnelly (@Munners_) August 23, 2016
Very good signing at that price! Poor owl Alan Hutton!!
— Ross Campbell (@thedhal) August 23, 2016
— AC1874 (@samt124) August 23, 2016
— Villa Boy (@VillaBoy68) August 23, 2016
But things got off to the worst possible start.
In just his third match of the league season, he suffered a horrific knee injury against Brentford, hobbling off in the 67th minute.
That was to be his last action for the club that season with the results of the injury far worse than first feared.
The Villa Park faithful’s dreams of seeing Alan Hutton replaced were dashed and the club’s season unravelled.
De Laet did go on to make nine more appearances for the club but it was undoubtedly a signing that did not live up to the hype.
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