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!
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So far today we’ve seen the usual amount of Villa transfer madness.
Here is an update:
It looks like young Irish left-back Enda Stevens has all but confirmed his proposed move to Villa, and will be joining in January after Shamrock’s Europa League campaign.
We were apparently in talks with Joe Cole, but he has completed his year long loan move to Lille.
Still looking likely that the Hutton move will be completed at some point today.
The latest link is with Jermaine Jenas, with Sky Sports News (SSN) reporting that we’ve made enquiries for the England midfielder.
Latest update is that Villa and Tottenham are discussing a loan move for Jenas.
Despite reports linking Fulham with a move for Hutton, the Birmingham’s Mail Mat Kendrick understands that the player is en route to Bodymoor Heath for a medical. Talk emerging of Jenas to Stoke.
It has been confirmed that Villa have completed the signing of the aforementioned Edna Stevens and he will join the club in January.
Hutton fee has reportedly been agreed and a medical is close. Jenas deal edging towards being completed as well.
Still waiting for an update on Hutton and Jenas. It is understood we have a 6% sell on fee for Gary Cahill should he move to Tottenham or another club.
After a quick break from reading football to play it, come back to read official Villa announcement that Jenas and Hutton are undergoing medicals. It seems that these two will be the end of our transfer dealings and the latest news that Hutton has turned down Fulham surely means an announcement is inevitable.
And we’re done! Villa have completed the signing of Alan Hutton on a deal until 2015 and Jermaine Jenas has signed on a year long loan. Good deals in my opinion and we have a very promising young left back to come in in January.
There was a time when I used to love this time of the year, transfer deal following transfer deal, 12 hours sat watching Sky Sports News, constantly refreshing newsnow. This year though the usual excitement seems to be missing, and I can’t wait for the window to close.
I’m not sure if it’s depression at Villa’s lack of activity, other clubs buying players I would like or Man City being…. well Man City but I just want it to end!
With a little under 24 hours remaining of this transfer window, the general consensus is that Villa will look to bring in three new faces (feel free to prove me wrong Randy and Alex!) with two of those targets well known at this stage. One of those is Alan Hutton, who has been linked for a while and makes sense. He will only cost a bit more than the money we received for Luke Young, is six years younger and will be on less. He did go for £9 million when he made the move to Spurs, and is a good solid player who will do a good job for us.
The other is an unknown to the majority of fans and goes by the rather awesome name of Enda Stevens. He’s a young Irish left back currently playing for Shamrock Rovers and it looks like the move is more or less complete. Now this offers virtually no risk to Villa, and will offer good cover for Warnock when he arrives in January (it appears he is staying for Shamrock’s Europa League campaign). I’ve seen a lot of Villa fans dismiss him without probably seeing him in action. Those who have seem to rate him and if he does turn into a good player, then what a move by the Villa. Countless players have been plucked from lower leagues or Ireland (Paul McGrath + Roy Keane anyone) so let’s give him a chance.
I’m hoping the last player is a midfielder and with Makoun leaving we need to add another new face. Yes he hasn’t featured in the league this season but if we have an injury crisis like last season, things could get messy. A number of players have been linked, including ex Villa old boy Steven Davis this evening but the truth is it could be one of any number of players. McLeish may still yet pull out a wildcard like he did at the Blues, now that would be nice!
I just want it done, whoever we bring in great, let us move on, get behind the club and look to the future.
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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It’s not enough.
I’m almost tempted to leave the article at that, as that’s all that needs to be said. Any team that buys a player who’s had half a decent season for £35 million (Andy Carroll) or signs a player mostly based on potential for near £20 million (Jordan Henderson) must surely recognise that a left sided established England international coming off arguably the best season of their career is worth a pretty decent amount?
In football, as in life, you’re always going to go in at a lower price than the true worth of an item. Still, £15 million for a player of Downing’s stature is embarrassing. We’ve shown before that the club is more than prepared to play hardball when it comes to selling our best players. Barry, Milner and recently Young all went for near the top ends of their market value, with Milner’s transfer taking place after the season started. We won’t be messed around so I suggest Liverpool, if you are interested in signing Downing, add at least £5 million to your first offer.
Randy and the board know that it’s key that they have the fans onside going in to the new season, so if we have to sell Downing and he wants to go, I’d like to see McLeish given the full amount and let him start afresh and assemble a team of players who WANT to play for the club. I actually think £20 million for Downing would be a fantastic price for a player who has only had one good season for us. The club does deserve a bit of respect from the player after we signed him when injured but we’ve all seen that player loyalty and respect for your employees are not two attributes commonly associated with footballers in this day and age.
If Liverpool come back in with the right valuation, I say let him go. We’re only postponing the inevitable. Let McLeish bring in some quality players, let’s promote some of our outstanding youth and let’s move on.
No one player will EVER be bigger than Aston Villa Football Club.
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Link to a footballer of the year, more links to the same players and David Cameron rocking a Villa shirt.
In what I’m hoping is your classic case of some calm before the storm, it’s been a very, very, very quiet few days. I said a few weeks ago that I imagine things will kick off early July and I still think that is the case. McLeish wants to assess the squad which makes sense, and let’s not forget that we have a good group of players at the Villa, even taking into account the hefty number of departures to date this summer. If he’s able to sort out players like Ireland and Warnock, that’s like two new signings right there, when taking into account how little they were used last season. There is no doubt we need to strengthen, with goalkeeper an obvious priority. These signings will come though, and I have faith McLeish will buy well.
There are not many new links around today with more stories appearing regarding supposed targets Shay Given and Charles N’Zogbia. Apparently Man City want £5 million for Given and Villa are only prepared to offer £3 million. Sure they could make everyone’s lives easier and meet in the middle but common sense doesn’t seem to apply to football too often. I’ve voiced my reservations on Given before, and would much rather us look elsewhere than pay the quoted price of £5 million. You have to imagine he is on a very good wage at Man City and it could turn out to be a very expensive acquisition if he does make the move.
Yet more stories about N’Zogbia and apparently we’re getting closer to signing the winger who was such a success at Wigan last season. This potential move has been debated enough and the majority of us think it would be a great signing….Get it done Villa!
There is an interesting link to Scott Parker that appeared late last night which states we may make a £5 million move for the player with Tottenham’s interest on the wane. We were linked previously but for double the price and at that point I wasn’t too keen. At £5 million though I think it would be an inspired purchase. He’s precisely the kind of all around midfielder we need, and would be a great influence on the side. He does turn 31 soon but he’s clearly a fit player, and I think he could shine for at least a few more seasons. He can pass, tackle, lead a team and score goals. Come join the better Claret and Blue team Scott!
Lastly today and as we reported yesterday, David Cameron was spotted jogging wearing the Acorns Villa shirt around London yesterday. I’m not going to lie, politics doesn’t really excite me, and I have no real affinity to any of the main parties. Still though I have to say I am loving your work Mr Prime Minister. Here’s one of the most powerful men in the country, wearing our colours with ‘Cameron 10′ on the back, what’s not to like?! It generates more free publicity for the club, and adds to what may be one of the finer groups of celebrity fans. Keep on jogging Mr P.M, I will even lend you my classic green Muller away top from the early 90′s if you like?!
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Linked with a superstar, return of another hero and competing with Arsenal and Tottenham for a Brazilian ‘Superkid’.
After a relatively quiet day yesterday with only a couple of links in to Villa that didn’t really get the pulse racing, I am pleased to announce that the fanciful links are back. I know in many cases that these links are often just that, and rarely do we see them come to fruition. However unlikely they may be, it’s always nice to see the Villa linked with top players. I am going to try and not be too dismissive about them, take the links with a pinch of salt and analyse the various merits of each player joining Aston Villa. We can dream!
First one today was reported in the Express and Star and announced to the world that Diego was on the radar of out great club. If there is even the smallest chance of him making the move, I hope that we move heaven and earth to at least try and make it happen. A big signing would go a long way to reuniting the fan base and he could be just the man. He is still only 26 and a few seasons ago was one of the biggest talents in Europe while playing for Werder Bremen. It’s all gone a bit wrong since and he now finds himself out of favour at Wolfsburg. This would be a huge signing for us, and would more than fill the creative void left by Ashley Young. He can also score goals, something we’re clearly lacking from central midfield. Few people saw McLeish being able to attract Hleb last season, few people can see this coming off. I’d love for us all to be proven wrong.
After being linked with one former midfield hero in the last few days (James Milner) rumours are now circulating that ‘Der Hammer’ himself, Tommy Hitzlsperger may be making the move back to Villa Park. It’s easy to look at the possibility of this transfer though rose-tinted glasses as we all have a lot of love for the man, but even taking away the Villa connection, he’s a player that can only boost the squad in my opinion. A lot of people want to see Charlie Adam make the move here but if there is a choice of paying near £10 million for Adam or sign Hitz on a free transfer, it’s a no brainer for me. They are both blessed with tremendous left foots and both offer a goalscoring threat as well as having great abilities from set piece situations. A lack of mobility is a concern with both but after seeing Hitz in action last season, his all around game looks much improved. I for one would much rather snap up Der Hammer on a free, then put the saved funds towards buying Diego .
Now on to the Brazilian superkid and he goes by the name of Casemiro. In a story that appears to carry little to no substance (It’s a whopping three sentences long) it states he’s a midfielder and has a buy out clause of £11 million. And that’s about all I know! If anyone has any more information on the player feel free to share. A few of our Facebook fans let us know a bit more about one of yesterdays links (Ruffier) and I went from knowing nothing about him, to being excited by his potential arrival!
In a follow up to the Foster story, it is now being reported that we may offer Guzan and cash in an attempt to convince Birmingham to sell. Now this seems to make sense. I’m actually a fan of Guzan’s and thought it was harsh he was dropped for the League Cup final a few seasons back but as for him being a premiership number one, I’m not too sure. He enjoyed a successful loan spell at Hull last season and I think he’d excel in the championship. We have a number of exciting young keepers at the club as well as Marshall so it may suit all parties if we can get it done. We’ll wait and see!
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After a few days dominated by Stewart Downing nonsense, the release of a new away kit and confirmation of a new sponsor it’s nice to head back to the transfer speculation we all know and love.
Heading straight into it and the guys over at Vital Wigan are reporting that we’ve put a bid in for Charles N’Zogbia. Vital Villa’s Jon Fear believes his Wigan colleague is (and I hate to use the term) ‘In the Know’ with regards to these things having previously reported the Martinez approach well before the press gotta hold of it. I only wrote about the merits of signing him a few days ago, and to repeat I would love to see him at Villa Park. He scored a decent amount of goals in a struggling side and you’d have to hope he’d get even better at the Villa. He has a year left on his contract so for once let’s be the side that get’s a player for less than he may be worth. McLeish has previously been interested in the player, he’d be a hit with the fans and would prove an adequate replacement for Ashley Young. Get it done Villa!
Now on to a story that appeared late last night, and one that would leave 99% of us extremely happy…..the return of James Milner (again!). While every sensible part of me can’t see it happening, I’d love for there to be even a hint of truth in it. Despite not playing as often as he should, he did win a F.A. Cup winners medal at City, and with the upcoming prospect of playing in the Champions League, I just can’t see it happening. Still I would love love love for Villa to prove me wrong. You only have to look at his attitude when playing against West Ham on the first game of the season, to see that he loves the club, and will give everything he has when stepping on to the field. We missed his all around play, will to win and especially his goals from centre midfield last season. Like I said I can’t see it happening but we can dream, and after all the madness with the managerial appointment, a signing like this would get the fans firmly back on side. Third times a charm….get it done Randy!
Now on to a few other links around and we’ve once again been linked to Ben Foster. I’d be more than happy with this but don’t want to see Villa being held to ransom over the player. In my eyes he is a top keeper and could be our number one for years to come. If the price was too much though, I’d rather see us look elsewhere for a new number one and use the extra money to strengthen other areas.
We’ve also been linked to his team mate Roger Johnson and I’d love us to bring him to the better side in Birmingham. As a Cardiff boy I’ve seen plenty of him and was amazed it took so long for a premiership (now ex!) side to snap him up, the guy is quality. He reads the game extremely well, is quick, good in the air and also brave to boot. I remember watching him years ago and he got elbowed in the throat while playing Crystal Palace. He was knocked out, and when he regained conciousness he was coughing up blood and struggling to breathe. He was clearly in no fit state to continue, yet almost ended up fighting up with his own physio such was his will to play on. Such was the severity of his injury he actually spent time in hospital. I would love to see some of that fighting spirit at the Villa, and with Dann looking like he may be heading elsewhere, I think he’d be a great addition to the squad.
There are also links to Ryan Shawcross and as much as I would love it, I can’t see it happening. Though if Dann does indeed sign with Stoke, that would mean three quality centre backs at the Britannia Stadium (Robert Huth is the other). Surely they couldn’t all play?!
That’s your lot folks and it makes for very exciting reading, would love to see all of the aforementioned players head to the Villa (however unlikely) and that would banish any negativity currently associated with Aston Villa. Randy and the board, it’s over to you!
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After all of the madness surrounding the managerial appointment, I’m not going to lie, it was actually nice to be able to have a few days off from the full time job that is supporting Aston Villa Football Club. I’m pleased to say I’ve sorted my life out, feel refreshed and feel ready for the madness that is transfer speculation. Bring it.
As one of our fans at our Facebook page commented, it looks like it just needs one or two transfer moves for the market to kick into gear. Things usually hot up in around a week and I fully expect come early July, things will be as mad as normal. As long as McLeish doesn’t follow the O’Neill way of panic buying in the last few days of the window, I will be pretty happy. I’m pretty sure he realises there is work to be done with regards to our squad, so let’s take a look at the latest players being linked with a move to Villa Park.
Charles N’Zogbia – Going to start with a player I know and I, along with a load of other fans would love to see him at our club. He’s really improved the past few seasons and his performances towards the end of the season were a big part of why Wigan ultimately stayed in the premier league. He apparently favours a move to Newcastle (not too sure why) but I’d love to see us get this deal done. He’s adding goals to his play and could be available for around half the amount we received for recently departed Ashley Young.
Ali Al-Habsi Another player who has been frequently linked recently and another player who would be a relatively popular addition to the squad. Was Wigan’s player of the season last year and I’ve always been pretty impressed whenever I’ve seen him play. Compared to our previous number one he’s an extremely youthful 29 and is coming to what many view as the peak years for a goalkeeper. As much as I rate Foster, I think I’d prefer to see us make the move for Al-Habsi. He’s cheaper for one, and you have to imagine that any negotiations with the Blues are not going to be the smoothest.
Victor Wanyama Right now on to the players I can’t say I know too much about. According to the article, he’s 19, Kenyan, plays in Belgium and would be available for a million pound. We’re aiming to snatch him from under the noses of Celtic and Swansea, go us. Can’t really make too many comments as I don’t know who he is. The two aforementioned clubs have purchased a few hidden gems previously, and he’s been playing international football since the age of 15 so must be doing something right. He’s a defensive midfielder which we do need and is the younger brother of Inter Milan midfielder McDonald Mariga.
Wesley Verhoek Another player I don’t know too much about, really need to get playing some more footy manager. He’s a Dutch winger and is comfortable on both flanks, a key feature of Villa’s tactics in recent seasons. Like Young he only has a year left on his contract so according to the article would be available for a cut price £5 million. If anyone knows anything else let us know!
Now on the sponsor deal and it appears that a lot of people are happy with the choice and indeed with the away kit which was shown to the world yesterday. I like many of you, didn’t have a clue who Genting were but further research showed they are a massive massive company. There are a few reports doing the rounds that the deal is worth a staggering £8 million a year, a fee that only a few other teams in the league top. If it is true then hats off to the guys at Villa who got this done, after the farce with the kit last season, it’s pleasing to see us make up for it this summer. The group has links to Birmingham and it appears this deal will be beneficial to both parties. The company is based in Malaysia and let’s not forget that Asia is a massive market, be nice to try and break up the monopoly that Liverpool and Man Utd have over there. Good move Villa!
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