For the third time in three summers, Aston Villa have lost their best player. This time it's former Watford winger Ashley Young, who's impressed in the Premier League for three seasons and recently begun to shine for England as well. The destination? Defending champions Manchester United, who have agreed a five-year contract for the versatile attacker. It's obviously a step up for Young, who's still to get a real taste of European competition with the Midlands side, but it's unclear how he'll fit into a United lineup that contains both Antonio Valencia and Nani.
Young's transfer fee has been reported to be in the area of £16M, which isn't too steep a fee for the 25-year-old, wh obviously counts as a home-grown player. With the earlier acquisition of defender Phil Jones from Blackburn rovers, United have taken their summer spending to around £30M, and that doesn't even include the David de Gea deal, which appears to be in some form of limbo at the moment.
For Villa, the key now is not to lose any other attacking talent - and that basically means keeping hold of Stewart Downing, who may be heading off to Liverpool this summer. Much Young's production can be replaced by youngster Marc Albrighton, but losing both of their star wide players in one summer could prove too much for Villa to cope with next year.