By Callum O'Connell

29th Jul, 2023 | 1:10pm

What went wrong for Wesley at Aston Villa as transfer exit now secured?

The story of Wesley Moraes’ Aston Villa career is an unfortunate one. It started with such promise and hope, but a series of terrible injuries and loan spells have seen it die out, with the forward now moving to Stoke City in the hope of reigniting his career.

When Aston Villa signed Wesley from Club Brugge for £21.5million ahead of the 2019/20 season, hopes were high for the Brazilian forward. The then-22-year-old made 21 appearances for Villa that season, scoring five goals, and was tipped to be Villa’s main forward for years to come.

Then, on New Year’s Day 2020, Wesley suffered a cruciate ligament injury following a challenge from Burnley’s Ben Mee which kept him out for well over a full calendar year. The forward would not complete a full season’s worth of matches until 2022/23.

Following his recovery from the cruciate ligament injury, Wesley was loaned back to his previous side, Club Brugge in Belgium, for the 2021/22 season after almost two years out.

He played just 69 minutes for the club in six months playing in the Juliper Pro League, before moving on another loan deal to Corinthians in Brazil where he suffered a similar fate, playing just eight league games.

During his time in Brazil, Wesley produced 0.23 expected goals per 90, and just 0.16 expected assists [FBRef], showing how limited his impact was. This was a bad sign for the Villa forward, particularly due to the difference in quality between the two divisions.

In 2022//23, Wesley secured a loan to Levante, in the second division of Spanish football. It was here that the striker was finally able to rediscover his role and play regular football, making 36 league appearances.

However, Wesley’s goalscoring form still didn’t kick on. The forward scored just three goals across his 36 league appearances at a rate of 0.18 per 90, while he also only created 0.12 assists per 90 [FBRef], with his only other goal for the Spanish side coming in the Copa del Rey.

Upon his return to Aston Villa, the club made the decision to cut their losses on the player who, still just 26 years old, had experienced a rollercoaster career after such a promising start.

It must be said that, even in that initial season at Villa Park, Wesley was not a prolific striker. Five goals in his opening 21 games was a poor record, but one that had shown signs of potential improvement.

It was time to cut ties at Aston Villa. A series of loan moves and worries surrounding his recovery was never a good basis to rediscover his talent, so a more fixed and secure spot at Stoke could be just what he needed all along.

The hope will be now that having joined Stoke City for an undisclosed fee, the striker will rediscover his confidence, both in front of goal and in his body.

Wesley’s story is one of a career marred by a terrible injury, which has never quite seemed to recover.

In other Aston Villa news, one pundit has shared his reaction to latest Aston Villa loan exit.