ASTON VILLA have sacked sporting director Jesus Garcia Pitarch, following their final day Premier League survival.
Dean Smith’s side clinched the point they needed against West Ham at the London Stadium to stay in the top flight.
But club chiefs were extremely unhappy to be in such a position in the first place, having spent in the region of £150million on new players last summer.
Pitarch, 56, was only appointed in October 2018, but has paid for last summer’s transfer failings with his job.
Manager Smith was responsible for the acquisitions of Tyrone Mings and Tom Heaton.
But it was Pitarch that recruited the likes of Wesley, Marvelous Nakamba, Trezeguet, Matt Targett and Mbwana Samatta.
Villa also signed Jota, Anwar El Ghazi, Kortney Hause, Ezri Konsa, Bjorn Engels, Douglas Luiz and Borja Baston in a hectic season – as well as agreeing loans for Pepe Reina and Danny Drinkwater.
Chief executive Christian Purslow still wants to deploy a sporting director within the club’s management structure and will be seeking a direct replacement for Pitarch.
Ahead of preparing for next season, Smith has had his say on the club’s recruitment.
The 49-year-old said: “I’ll sit down in the next few days with the CEO and owners. We need to be smart in the market now.
““I said it after the game yesterday [Sunday], people had questioned the amount we’d spent.
“But we had such a big turnaround, 13 players, and it worked out something like £9.5 million a player and that’s not a lot of money in the Premier League.
“I’m really proud of the players and how they’ve adapted to the Premier League eventually. We’ve got to where we wanted to be but now we really have to be smart in the market.”
We’ll go out and get drunk together.
Pitarch’s successor will have serious job on their hands keeping skipper and talisman Jack Grealish.
But Smith remains positive on his side’s prospects of retaining the 24-year-old… and for now is more focused on going out on the lash with his star player.
He said: “We’ll go out and get drunk together.
“I said to Jack he’d come to the party and score. He has been getting better and better. He has come good when he needed to.
“It will all be sorted over the next month. I’m certainly hopeful [he’ll play again]. He’s contracted for another three or four years.
Aston Villa can confirm that Jesús García Pitarch’s contract as Sporting Director has ended.#AVFC
“I’ve said many times before we have billionaire owners – if people want to come in and get the best player, it’ll cost an awful lot of money.
“Jack’s an Aston Villa fan, he will be immensely proud that he scored the goal that managed to keep us in the Premier League.
“I’ll sit down with the sporting director, the CEO and the owners on Monday. Let’s enjoy this. It’s a magnificent achievement.”