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.