Reported he suffered a heart attack after first getting bronchitis earlier during the tournament but was on the mend.
His brother is claiming they had him killed. Doesn't believe it was natural causes.
He was 22 at the time, looked like a physical beast, had just won the young belgium player of the year award. Hell, even the fact that he’s Brazillian might’ve helped made him look better. Goal return was still good for the league, just not exceptional and he did supplement it by bagging a decent number of assists too.
Even without watching him play in the league, its not hard to imagine people coming to the conclusion that this might be a rising football star with incredible potential. He already had links with pl clubs and we probably figured if we didn’t move now and stump up the cash, we were never gonna get him.
And he probably did look like a rising football star even if you did watch him play. I’m sure he looked a lot better when playing against jupiler league defenders. He wouldn’t be the first player to look like a monster in a lower league but at utter donkeh after taking the step up.
all this is to say is, I don’t think its the worst signing in the world at the time. We did screw up by trying to play him as a target man though. Either our scouts were bad and didn’t do their due diligence, or the club attempted to forcibly mold him into one simply because they felt that would be the best way to take advantage of his pjysical gifts. Similar thing happened with Joelinton back them iirc.
And FWIW, after signing multiple players from Belgium in recent years, I think the lesson we learnt was that you need to be absolutely dominating that league to have a chance of stepping up to the Premier League. Benteke was a 1 in 2 striker in Belgium, and his scoring rate was accelerating just before he joined Villa. And he was dominant in the air.
Wesley’s return of about 1 in 3 goals, combined with his lack of aerial ability, in hindsight made him a pretty bizarre signing. A big man who isn’t good in the air simply isn’t a sensible signing, unless he’s very quick and absolutely banging in the goals. Maybe we were seduced by his young age, and the fact there was chatter around Europe about him as a hot prospect, and someone got suckered by a clever agent or something.
The interesting thing is how many journos compared him with players like Benteke as an aerially dominant player, based purely on assumption. People look at him and assume he will be an absolute beast in the air, but just watch him for 10 mins and you’ll see very quickly that he isn’t.
A real lack of homework on that deal, and it nearly cost Dean Smith his job, as we were looking for a replacement for Tammy Abraham as lone striker in a 4-3-3. (Tammy is a much better player, with good all round attributes to lead the line, as you can see from his subsequent career).
I’m still mystified by it and would love to find out the back story. I really wanted him to succeed and feel he could have been an *okay* player hovering around lower PL / upper Championship level, but he wasn’t at all the right fit for our team, and we had our pants pulled down on the price.
Christ, just found this.
Horrible flashbacks to a few things I thought I’d managed to forget.
His weird running style, his constantly angry body language, and his mistimed headers.
I’m not sure how much of this you can blame on the injury tbh.
I think there is a team somewhere with a style and a manager who suit him, who can get him playing a bit more in line with the Belgium days. He’s obviously good enough to play professional football. But it may be at quite a low level now.
Such a weird player. You do see little flashes in the clip of what he can do receiving the ball under pressure and playing a neat pass, but he doesn’t even seem to be doing that more than 50% of the time. I’d still fancy him to tuck away a chance in the box, but yes very glad he doesn’t play for us anymore.
I disagree with those like @rodders0223who say he was pure shit the entire time he was here, but in fairness to them he probably never had much of a future at Villa once we stayed up.
I’m more inclined towards @Zatman’s take that his physical size makes people expect a completely different type of player, and then when you realise what type of player he wants to be, he lacks the pace and technical quality to really play that role at the highest level.
He had his success in Belgium playing in a 3-5-2 where he could drop off a more advanced striker and link up the play. If you play him as a lone striker or as the advanced striker, his natural instinct is to drop deep, and I’m not sure how easy it would be to coach this out of him.
He likes the ball to feet and really only uses his physical strength in that context. He‘s *okay* in the air in duels, but he isn’t the type to attack crosses with his head and score bullet headers.
We did see some decent performances from him, though. The ones that stand out are Everton at home, Man Utd away and Burnley away (sadly the game where he got injured). In these games he bullied defenders, covered a lot of ground, linked up intelligently, and slotted a couple of finishes away very calmly.
I would have expected pre-injury Wesley to have caused a lot of problems in second-tier football, despite not being good enough for the Premier League, but sounds like he really is just playing for the pay cheque now after a crippling injury.
Anyway, let us know if he improves at all…!