On May 26, Fulham dealt Aston Villa a massive blow when the Whites defeated Villa 1-0 in the play-off final at Wembley. The Birmingham club were denied promotion to the Premier League while Fulham celebrated a return to the top flight after four years out.
Around two and a half months later, the Cottagers came back to haunt Aston Villa yet again, when Fulham hijacked Villa’s transfer for Bristol City left back Joe Bryan.
Villa will be left fuming after the Londoners seem set to steal the highly-rated fullback from under their noses, denying the Championship club a quality defender who will star in the Premier League.
According to the Bristol Post, Bryan had arrived at Aston Villa, completed a medical, and was on the verge of signing for the club before Fulham came up with a late offer. The 24-year-old then promptly decided he wanted to play in the Premier League and walked out on Villa, infuriating Steve Bruce.
Bruce’s anger is justified, as Bryan was one of the Championship’s brightest defensive talents last season was available for a reasonable price. However, the allure of the Premier League ended up being too strong to resist, and Fulham had the greater need for Bryan than Aston Villa did.
Fulham have been desperately searching for a left back all summer to replace Matt Targett, and after repeated attempts to sign the Southampton man were rebuffed, the Whites swooped for Bryan.
The mooted acquisition of the Bristol City man is vital to Fulham’s success, as it frees teenage sensation Ryan Sessegnon to play in his favoured left wing position.
Although Fulham will be delighted to secure the highly-rated left back, Aston Villa will be devastated to be embarrassed by Fulham for the second time in as many months.