Paul Faulkner has been speaking, and the piece in the Birmingham Mail makes for largely encouraging reading. Now granted the headline will not be a surprise, for the squad is in need of some major work. Still it’s encouraging to see a senior figure address the subject, and realise the need for some quality reinforcements.
Faulkner is an interesting character, and is another that polarises opinion. They got it horribly horribly wrong last season, but he was quick to address that. He’s done well with regards to striking deals, with the links with Genting and Macron reported to be among the most lucrative in our history. I’ve always felt the board could do with a real ‘football man’ on the board, but after the appointment of Lambert and if they invest decent money for players, I’d be relatively happy (and just try and block last year from my mind).
Here are a few little sections from the piece:
“It is still early June. We have just under a month before the players come back for pre-season and just under ten weeks until the Premier League season kicks off so in football that’s quite a long period of time. We know we need to freshen up the squad, there will be players coming in and players going out. That’s the next order of business.
“There’s absolutely no doubt there will be ins and there will be outs. We’ve got some good players here at Aston Villa already. Maybe last season, due to injury or just under-performing, it didn’t click.”
Few interesting pieces, and despite the clamour for everything to happen in the here and now, we do have a bit of time, especially with the Euro’s taking place. A good point is that like Mr Faulkner, I also believe we do have a number of good players here. We need new additions, and a number of them but the core is definitely decent, and should have done much better last season, even given who we had in charge. I’d say it was a mix of injury, and under-performing and a manager that was just never going to work.
Lambert will come in and hopefully revitalise the remaining players, and as we’ve mentioned previously if he gets the likes of Makoun and N’Zogbia firing, that’s like two new signings already. Equally if he can get players like Albrighton, Agbonlahor and others playing as they have done previously, we’ll be reaping the benefits.
All of this is encouraging for me, and the good feeling since Lambert was appointed is still sticking around. It looks like we’ll be in the market for players, we have a top new manager and the fans are all back onside.
Given where we were a month ago this is all very much welcome.
This post is written by frequent Up the Villa contributor Aaron Bridgewater and we’d like to extend our thanks to him for taking the time to write this up. If anyone has any interest in contributing to the site please feel free to get in touch, details can be found in the about section.
Here is the article in question:
Another game, another gutless, clueless performance. This was the majority view of Villa’s most recent disgrace which heaps further pressure on an already underfire Alex McLeish. In fairness to him, the players available for the Liverpool game meant we were always going to struggle to get anything out of this one, but myself and I would guess most Villa fans would have accepted the defeat had we been able to say we gave it our all, but even the most deluded would struggle to say we had any kind of fight about us. It would also not have been so bad if this was a one-off, but we were just as bad against Spurs and Man United, it’s just not acceptable.
More fans are jumping on the ‘McLeish Out’ bandwagon which is understandable. I was more than willing to give him a chance and still hope he does prove to be a success, but it’s not looking that good at the moment. I’ve started to wonder if he and Villa are just a bad match, the fact he was Birmingham’s manager is irrelavent to me. I know he isn’t a bluenose and I know he doesn’t hate Villa, he wants to make things work for us because it will reflect well on himself. A few of his decisions and tactics have been questionable, the Tottenham game was awful. In no way did he set us up to win, at best he was hoping for a draw assuming we could stop Gareth Bale, not taking into account that the other ten players on the pitch for Spurs are pretty decent as well.
I’m not pro-McLeish by any stretch, all I will say though is that it’s not all his fault we’re strugging a little at the moment. Randy Lerner and Paul Faulkner were adamant he was the man for the job, and they said they’d give him all the support he needed. Can they honestly say they’ve given him that? They gave him half of the Downing money to replace him with Charles N’Zogbia and another £3.5 million to bring in Shay Given. They also gave him £2 million for Alan Hutton before the end of the window, but that’s it. We haven’t replaced Ashley Young, and we’ve never replaced Barry or Milner, we’ve been in gradual decline ever since they decided to cut back before the beginning of last season.
I’m concerned that if they do decide to get rid of McLeish, who will they replace him with? Please bear in mind Roberto Martinez decided he would be better off staying at Wigan than coming to us. Rafa Benitez was desperate to get back into Premiership management, he turned us down, and why? Because we’re broke, or at least not willing to invest anymore at present. I believe that the manager we have in charge at the moment was the best we could get to agree to join, knowing we had no funds available to notably improve the squad. This is what makes me worry about who Lerner and Faulkner would look at to replace him. Moyes always gets a mention, but why would he come? He’s pretty much in the same boat at Everton at the moment so it would hardly be called a progressive step for him. I couldn’t see Mark Hughes coming with no money to spend as well as the fact we seemingly completely overlooked him in the summer. The only other available manager I can think of who might consider it is another ex-Birmingham manager, Steve Bruce, and I think that move would be as welcome as Christmas is to a turkey. Sven Goran Ericsson might be interested, but his club record in this country is hardly anything to shout about. The only thing I’m sure of is that we’d be looking in the bargain basement manager bin, possibly a Championship manager. I wonder if Kevin McDonald is ready to make the step up yet, that would be a favourable option for many supporters, given his success with the reserves, the last time the job was available though he hardly seemed itching to take the reigns.
It’s looking a bit bleak for us at the moment. I think anything between 8th to 12th would be a result for us this season. We do have a nice run of games between January and March, but we said that about the opening fixtures and we had far too many draws. We need to get behind the team though, as hard as it is at times. The away support is great, but Villa Park is becoming more and more unforgiving. Some of the players are young and still developing and booing or jeering them is not going to help their confidence or the team’s overall performance. The seasoned pros need to step up and be counted, they’re simply not earning their high wages some of them, and they can’t blame anyone else for that. Alex McLeish might not be the right man for the job, but I’m not confident the chairman or chief executive would get somebody better in if he was to leave or be sacked. Just be careful what you wish for.
Yesterday was depressing, make no mistake about it. I hate it when we lose as much as you do, my other half will tell you….it seriously comes close to ruining my day. Still for however poor we were against Bolton, and by all accounts we were dreadful, I’m not going to sit here criticising the manager, board or the players. One result does not make a season, and the reaction from some ‘fans’ yesterday left a lot to be desired.
Alex McLeish is our manager, and there is nothing any of us can do about it. Some people couldn’t wait for McLeish to lose, and that is a very sad state of affairs. At the time I didn’t think we’d appoint McLeish, but now that he is here I am going to give him a fair crack of the whip. People are far too keen to lump blame on the Scotsman, forgetting that the players that were on the pitch hardly impressed yesterday. I hope this reported dressing room inquest was productive, as we have the base of a very good team here. I still think we’ll look to play an attacking formation and to play an exciting brand of football, McLeish will have already seen that the natives won’t tolerate a repeat of the defensive ways that were associated with his time in charge of our neighbours.
It’s not going to be an instant turnaround. People tend to forget that we lost one of the best attacking players in the league this summer (Ashley Young) and a player who despite my massive hatred for, (Stewart Downing) would still walk into our side. We’ve also lost a more than decent defensive midfielder in Nigel Reo-Coker. They’ve been replaced with a player in Charles N’Zogbia who hasn’t started greatly, promotions from within who despite their obvious promise, are nowhere near established Premiership performers and uh, no-one.
The air of negativity surrounding our club does no-one any favours, and while I’m not going to pretend everything is a-okay, because there are clearly issues, this current climate is not good for anyone.
Some of the comments yesterday were beyond farcical. Calls of sacking McLeish and Randy Lerner is ridiculous, especially after one defeat. Some people must have short memories, because I assure you things were a lot worse than this not too long ago. There are not many owners who are prepared to spend £20 million plus on a player.
I love Aston Villa. I wouldn’t put in all the time on this site and our various fan pages if I didn’t. I know a lot of you are unsure on our manager, and I respect that. As mentioned, I never in a million years thought he would be our new number one when Houllier left last summer. I ask you though to give him more than one defeat before turning on him and our team.
Lerner appointed McLeish in the midst of some pretty vociferous opposition, do you seriously think that our manager will be gone any time soon? I’m sure you’ve come to the same conclusion as myself, so in the meantime let’s get behind the team and prove the fans are amongst the best in the league. I guarantee you if we go on to beat QPR this weekend, the fans will be back on side and while that isn’t perhaps right, it’s the nature of the beast these days.
I still have more than enough belief in this team, and think we’ll be comfortable this season before pushing on in the future. Now is not the time to write off this campaign, after one defeat in the Carling Cup. If we’re bottom of the league at Christmas, then yes there would be a bit more reason for such hysteria. We’re not, and for all the talks of ‘easy fixtures’, we’re still one of only four teams unbeaten in the league.
Things really aren’t that bad.
In a pretty good initiative on Villa’s part, fans are now given the chance to vote on the man of the match after every game, with the overall winner (highest point accumulator) being named player of the month. Anything that get’s the fans involved is a good thing and this has resulted in Mr Gabriel Agbonlahor being named our player of the month for August.
After each match, the player with the most votes is awarded three points, with two for second and one for third. Our top five is as follows this month, with Agbonlahor taking the crown after receiving more individual votes than Fabian Delph in second.
1st: Gabriel Agbonlahor (4 pts)
2nd: Fabian Delph (4 pts)
3rd: Shay Given (3 pts)
4th: Chris Herd (3 pts)
5th: Barry Bannan (3 pts)
Agbonlahor earned four points from finishing second against Blackburn and Wolves while Delph finished third against Fulham and first against Blackburn.
It seems that our fans can read a game pretty well as Given won the Fulham vote, Herd won it for Wolves while Bannan was first against Hereford. All correct decisions in my opinion.
For me personally the player of the month would have been between Agbonlahor or Given, with Given just about pinching it if I was pushed. They’ve both started the season in fine form though, and that’s all that really matters.
Agbonlahor seems to have recaptured the form which makes him so dangerous, and even though I still would ultimately like to see him as a striker, he’s looked very impressive playing on the left hand side. He’s already popped up with two important goals, and his celebration against Everton tells you everything you need to know about how much the Villa and it’s fans means to the player, great to see.
Fabian Delph has the makings of a top player, and it’s great to see him getting more game time as he looks to develop into the player we all hope he can be. After a hugely impressive start to the season, his performances have slightly tailed off in the last couple of games. Still, the potential is there for all to see, and at 21 he has plenty of time to develop into a top top player. At times he seems to be trying too hard, and this does on occasion cost us, as shown when conceding a needless penalty against Everton. There is plenty more to come though from this exciting young talent.
Given has been somewhat of a revelation, and already a candidate for ‘signing of the season’. He clearly needed to be playing, and it’s great that he is for our football club. He was sensational against Fulham, and has performed well in just about every game to date. We’ve always been aware of his goalkeeping qualities but what I love seeing is how he seems to be inspiring the rest of the defence to up their games. Collins and Dunne look like the players of a couple of seasons ago, with Dunne in particular excelling with his International team-mate behind him. A brilliant bit of business on our part.
Chris Herd has only played the one premiership game this season, but what a performance it was. He was sensational against Wolves, and kept an England winger (Matt Jarvis) extremely quiet, eventually resulting in his substitution. Phenomenal in the air, strong in the tackle and has a terrific attitude to the game. He almost knocked himself out in the aforementioned game, after colliding with a post yet stayed on the pitch and was correctly awarded Man of the Match. Like many of the youngsters, he has a genuine affinity with our club and plays like a fan, always giving 110%. Expect more from this versatile young star.
And finally we finish with Barry Bannan, who you get the feeling is on the brink of something very special. Us fans have been aware of his talents for a while, and on the occasions he has played this season, he has looked a star in waiting. Blessed with an otherworldly left foot, he also has a football brain that belies his young age. He was awarded man of the match for the Carling Cup game against Hereford, and you feel this may be the first of many. He has shone for Scotland this season, has impressed when coming off the bench for us and you feel a starting role is just around the corner, perhaps this weekend against Newcastle. Like Herd he has a genuine connection for the club, and I’m incredibly excited to see what he can achieve this upcoming season.
So how about you? Let us know who your player of the month is for August by getting in touch either here in the comments section, or on our Facebook and Twitter pages (links above).
Let’s face it, after the first 45 minutes yesterday we all would have taken a point, and over 24 hours after the final whistle blew, I’m still delighted with the spirit and character shown by our Villans to come back not once, but twice. This was NEVER going to be the easy game that a lot of people seemed to think it would be. Regardless of the problems Everton are going through they are still a more than decent side, with Internationals throughout the starting eleven. I would have been happy before the match with a point, and after the way we fought for a hard earned draw, I was delighted after.
While the first half was disappointing, I was amazed to see the reaction of some Villa ‘fans’ when we went one nil down. I always try to be positive with regards to the Villa, but when we do play badly (like the first 45 mins yesterday) I’d rather discuss it sensibly than begin criticising everything to do with our great club. Comments like ‘McLeish and Lerner out’ after 45 minutes of mediocrity do no-one any favours, and I’m genuinely worried how some will react when we do lose our first game this season. It seems some people can’t wait to get the knives out, but I’m sure the majority won’t overreact, and won’t think the world is ending. It’s all about the bigger picture and for me at least, McLeish has had a very promising start to the season.
Anyway enough of that! On to the players ratings after a battling point yesterday. As always feel free to get involved, and share your views (Twitter and Facebook links are at the top of the page).
Shay Given: 7 – I love seeing him in nets for us, and as mentioned a number of times this season his communication is a joy to watch. Made a couple of vital stops, and although he almost got caught out towards the end of the match, he made a great save in the last minute from an Everton corner. Could do nothing with either of the goals.
Alan Hutton: 5 – Not the best debut for the former Tottenham man, who looked off the pace throughout. Poor in possession, and Everton were successful with far too many attacks on the left side. He needs games and to build his match fitness but this wasn’t the best start for the Scottish international.
James Collins: 6.5 – The whole defence were found watching for Everton’s opener, but he grew into the match as the game went on. As always a beast in the air, and put his body on the line on more than one occasion.
Richard Dunne: 7 – After one of the best defensive performances in recent memory for his country in the week, Dunne continued his good form with an impressive performance. Looks more calmer with Given behind him, and is continuing to read the game extremely well.
Stephen Warnock: 5 – He’s started the season extremely well considering his issues last campaign. Poor game yesterday though, and he was beaten far too many times by Seamus Coleman. Poor in distribution, hoping for an improved performance next time out against Newcastle.
Fabian Delph: 5 – I’m a big fan of the player, but he needs to learn to tone it down at times, as he’s almost trying too hard. Neat and tidy at times, though our midfield was often dominated throughout the game. Gave away a needless penalty just as we were getting back into the match.
Stiliyan Petrov: 7 – As mentioned our midfield were overrun at times, though he tried his best to keep us possession and to allow us to get a foothold in the match. Stepped up when he had to with an absolute peach of a goal. The reaction of his fellow players tells you everything you need to know about the how much they respect him.
Charles N’Zogbia: 5 – Just waiting for him to really announce his arrival at the Villa, as he put in another poor performance yesterday. Showed some nice touches, but just not clicking for him yet. Was once again taken off in the second half.
Emile Heskey: 5 – No time for him to make an impact as he was withdrawn after 15 or so minutes with a hamstring strain. Disappointing after a promising start to the season.
Gabriel Agbonlahor: 7 – Quiet for the first half (along with the rest of the team) but looked much more threatening in the second half. A cracking run deserved more before he popped up towards the end of the match to rescue a point for us with a well taken header. His celebration showed just how much he loves the Villa and the fans.
Darren Bent: 5 – A poor display from our main man up front, who didn’t look quite right after his recent injury problems. Missed a good chance at the start of the second half, and while yet again the lack of service to him is a worry, he needs to make more of an impact. Saved us early on with a header off the line.
Barry Bannan: 7 – Replaced Heskey early on, and his enthusiasm for the game is great to see from a Villa viewpoint. Always wants the ball and tested Howard with a few efforts from distance. Needs to work on the defensive side of his game, and was extremely fortunate to not give away a penalty as he appeared to catch Baines in the second half.
Marc Albrighton: 7 – Came on when we were chasing the game, and did what he had to do, putting in a peach of a cross that Gabby couldn’t miss. Very encouraging cameo after a pretty disappointing start to the season.
Stephen Ireland: 6.5 – I was impressed with Ireland when he came on, and I’m hoping he uses this appearance to push on for the rest of the season. He wanted the ball, and made a number of cracking runs. Positive signs.
Man of the Match: It’s tough this week as there was no real stand-out performance. For stepping up yet again though, I’m going to award it to Agbonlahor, who has started this season in very good form.
Summary: After a first 45 minutes that were pretty diabolical, a draw at Everton is not to be sniffed at. We came back not one, but twice, and it’s great to see our Villans display such character. A cracking goal from our captain and Gabby once again stepped up when we needed him. We’re still unbeaten, and hopefully we’ll get the three points next week and that will represent a very promising start to the season.
Under 21 roundup, star would have quit had Houllier stayed, more links to an old boy and Bent update….busy day!
The encouraging start to the season continued last night as some of Villa’s young stars impressed while on under 21 duty with their respective countries.
Nathan Baker started for England U’21′s but his night was cruelly cut short as he suffered a knee injury just before half time. During the game he look composed on the ball, and spread it around nicely from his centre-back role. Could do nothing about the goal as Israel broke from a corner with Baker out of position after pushing forward for the set piece. No news yet on the extent of his injury but we wish him well.
Nathan Delfouneso and Gary Gardner both made appearances during the second half, coming on side by side with around twenty five minutes to play. Gardner was making his debut at this level and while he didn’t get many chances to show what he can do, he did spray a number of cracking balls out wide, and it is only a matter of time before he makes an impact at first team level. I thought the Fonz looked really sharp, and deserved his goal for his lively cameo. It came via the penalty spot, and despite a rather awkward stop, start, step back, run forward run-up, he still finished with aplomb, slotting the ball into the bottom corner. The game finished 4 – 1 to England and our young Villans should be proud at their performances.
Another young striker, Andreas Weimann, currently on loan at Watford scored a goal in Austria’s under 21 victory against their Greek counterparts as they won 3 2. This was in addition to the two he grabbed last Friday against Luxembourg. Not a bad few days! He’s very highly rated at the Villa and I would like to see him given a chance this season. The Championship is a very good league so the loan should stand him in good stead. Good luck for the rest of it!
As I write this Richard Dunne has just finished performing heroics in Russia, and has made a quite incredible goal-line stop which you need to see. Given was also sensational behind him and this can only bode well for the Villa, well in boys! In other Dunne news though, the defender has admitted that he would have ‘probably left had Houllier had stayed’. Now we all know about the infamous fall out last season, and his form was inconsistent at best last campaign. I don’t think it’s worthwhile talking about the past, and you can see from his performances already that Dunne, along with Collins are enjoying playing under the new manager. We’ve only conceded the one goal in three games, and I hope that this impressive form continues as the season progresses. A Richard Dunne playing at his best, can only be a good thing for the Villa. You can see the difference having Given behind him makes, and I hope we can get back to being the defensive force we were a few seasons ago.
The links to Villa old boy Steven Davis first came up towards the end of the transfer window, and now it appears as we were genuinely interested in the midfielder as McLeish has revealed the following:
“Steven Davis is a Rangers player. We asked about him, but we know how much he means to Rangers”
“We never pursued it because they made it clear he wasn’t for sale.”
I was a fan of Davis during his initial tenure at the Villa, and thought he performed well albeit in a very poor Villa side. Despite links to Man Utd he went on to Fulham where he did very little before shining in Scotland with Rangers. He does have talent, but for me we have too many similar players here, and I’d prefer to see the likes of Bannan/Ireland given a go before we wasted money and wages on a player we don’t really need. We’ve been burnt before on signing players from Scotland, and I fear we would again if we were to bring Davis back to our club.
Lastly today and a quick update from AMC who has said Bent is ‘touch and go’ to face Everton this weekend. Now this doesn’t sound too promising, and while I hope he makes it, if there is any doubt we’d be better letting him sit this one out, rather than run the risk of losing him for a longer period. If he is out then we have to find a way of creating, and taking our chances. I would like to see the aforementioned Delfouneso given a run-out, but I expect that Gabby would move up, with perhaps Jenas or Bannan taking his place on the left. Time will tell but we hope it’s nothing too serious!
As always, feel free to share your views on here, or via our Facebook and Twitter pages.
We here at Up the Villa love seeing pictures of our beloved football team winning. With that in mind, we’re starting a new feature and will string together a collection of photos every time the Villa wins. We’re hoping we’re going to be busy this season. The first set of pictures features images from our first two victories of the season against Blackburn and Hereford.
You may have noticed the website has also been given a bit of a spruce-up and for that we’d like to thank Alex Currie (link on the right!) for all his hard work.
Please let us know what you think of our new feature, it was enjoyable putting it together, and we hope you like watching it!
It was a struggle, but we got there in the end and the most important thing is that we find ourselves in the draw for the next round. We’ve all seen Villa fall victim to upsets previously, and there’s no denying it sucks. I was therefore pleased to see McLeish take the cup seriously and despite making eight changes, we put out a strong side. It appears that we’re placing more emphasis on the cups this season and that’s the way it should be. Only a few seasons ago we reached the final of this very competition and despite the tournament having plenty of detractors, there’s no doubt that winning it would be a huge boost to the fans and the club itself.
Focusing on the match and ultimately we did enough to see off the challenge of a spirited Hereford team. There were plenty of positives we can take from the match and the most important thing in my eyes, is that we kept the momentum rolling to continue our very encouraging start to the season. Habib Beye also earned his wages for once, and we kept another clean sheet. Eric Lichaj also grabbed his first goal for the Villa, and boy did he celebrate in style! It’s also refreshing to see how much it meant to him, and soon after the match he ‘tweeted’ the following:
‘Think I’m deaf now… Never heard my mom scream so loud and for so long after her son scored. Happy man ’
Now that’s what it’s all about and I love knowing that Lichaj, and the rest of the youngsters seem to have a genuine affinity for our football club. This is the best group we’ve had coming up in a long long time, and I’m so excited to see how they progress. Barry Bannan again ran the show yesterday (sorry Blackpool he’s not going anywhere) and looks like he’s going to play a big part this season, and Weimann and the Fonz also impressed when coming on. I would much rather give these players a go, than spend money on a player who may not necessarily be needed. Which brings me nicely on to my next point!
A number of sources have linked us with a move for Manchester United midfielder Darron Gibson with a fee of £3.5 million mentioned. Now he’s only 23, and anyone coming up through the Old Trafford ranks must have something about them. For me though, I wouldn’t be too keen on bringing him in. I don’t think we need him and while the squad could do with one or two new faces, surely other areas are more of a priority? I think we could do with a defensive midfielder, not someone like Gibson who is more of an attacking option. Yes he has a great shot, but that is not reason enough to bring him in. The fact a lot of Man Utd fans don’t rate him says it all, and I would much rather us use our existing players than waste unnecessary money and wages on a player we don’t really need. The aforementioned Bannan is a much better option, and we still have players like Ireland and Makoun sitting on the bench.
So to finish, well done Villa for negotiating your way to the third round. On a night where a number of other Premiership sides were ‘upset’, it was important for us to progress, and to keep the positivity around the club before the top of the table clash against Wolves this Saturday!
As well as comfortably beating Blackburn this weekend, a number of stories surfaced about Jean Makoun, our enigmatic midfielder who seems to be polarising opinion at Villa Park. Despite only being a Villa player since January, there have been numerous posts suggesting that he may soon be departing, with Greek side Olympiakos heavily linked in a loan deal.
There can be no doubt that Makoun is a quality player, and you only have to look at his performance against Manchester United last season to see signs that he can make it in the Premiership, and can make an impact. It is worth pointing out though that he has only made seven appearances for the Villa, and taking away the display at Old Trafford, he has certainly struggled to adapt to top flight football in England.
This season has seen Makoun named on the bench for our opening two games, and not make it off it as he has remained an unused substitute. Indeed in our last game against Blackburn, McLeish chose to bring on Barry Bannan (who did his prospects no harm with a great cameo) leaving our Cameroonian international frustrated yet again. At the moment is appears he may be no higher than fourth in the pecking order for our central midfield, and with Petrov and Delph forming a very encouraging partnership, he may find chances limited in the upcoming months. I imagine Makoun, along with a few others will get a chance against Hereford this week in the Carling Cup, and an impressive performance might go some way to changing our managers opinion of him.
Even in the last 24 hours or so there have been conflicting stories regarding Makoun, and here is a little snippet to give you an idea. The Daily Mirror reported that Makoun could leave but despite the story seeming to not carry much weight, Mirror journalist James Nursey ‘tweeted’ a few direct (or so he says) quotes from Alex McLeish that would seem to suggest Makoun doesn’t have much hope of a future at the Villa.
‘Gents, about Makoun, I personally asked AM directly about JM (leaving Villa Park) and that was his response. AM clearly doesn’t rate Makoun. sorry’
‘The only way JM will stay is if no-one comes in for him. He’s lightweight, has not settled on or off pitch and AM clearly don’t rate him.’
This would make it seem like the player has little chance of success at the Villa, but in the last few hours the player himself has spoken of his desire to stay a Villan for the foreseeable future.
‘I want to start games, the new manager has come in and I need to impress him. I want to fight and prove myself in the best league in the world – I love English football.’
So is he staying or going? Personally speaking I’d like him to stay, we saw last year the massive impact multiple injuries can have. His quality is not in question, and he’s played regularly in the Champions League. I can’t see him going without someone else coming in, and we’ve been linked with a number of midfield players in recent times. Scott Parker is the link that won’t go away and while I’d be loathe to spend anywhere north of £5 million on him, there can be no doubting his qualities as a footballer. A newer link is to Celtic’s Israeli internation, Beram Kayal. He does look like he can play, but we’ve been burned before on players coming to the Premiership from Scotland.
With the transfer window shutting soon we should get our answer. As I’ve said personally speaking I would keep him here, he hasn’t had much of a chance to show what he can do and his knitwear is a constant source of amusement.
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