Marc Albrighton the first casualty of the Aston Villa takeover limbo
Bye-bye Super Marc
The news that Aston Villa have released Marc Albrighton brought a few angry outcries from Villa supporters over the decision. The reality is though the terminology of the player being ‘released’ is misleading. It suggests Albrighton has been discarded because he doesn’t feature in Villa’s plans anymore. The truth of the matter is though, with Albrighton being on a Bosman he is able to pick up a signing-on fee and a better package at another club than at a club currently trapped in ‘for sale’ limbo.
Back in April, Paul Lambert suggested that a new contract for Albrighton was a formality after the Villa winger had been “on the top of his game” since returning from a loan spell at Wigan.
“Paul Faulkner has spoken to his agent a couple of weeks back,” the Villa boss said. “Marc’s relaxed and he will be fine, he’ll be all right. It will get done.”
The winger’s departure was always likely though the moment it was apparent Lerner didn’t have a buyer in place for the club. As Villa supporters we’re fast getting used to the contradiction that has been coming out of the club in recent times. One minute they are denying any notion of the club being sold, before months later firmly planting a ‘For Sale’ sign in the middle of the Villa Park pitch, one moment the manager is saying it’s ‘young and hungry’ players only, the next he’s saying the club is doomed without better quality and experienced players. Albrighton’s change of destiny hence fails to surprise.
There’s no doubt Albrighton is the first victim of the current unstable position the club finds themselves in . The uncertainty of what is happening at the club must have also given Albrighton food for thought, as there was potentially no real guarantees to his own future. A new owner may bring in a new boss and Albrighton might not be in their plans. If a club like Leicester City have given him reassurances about next season and how he fits in their plans, then any agent would advise their player to take the safe option and the improved package.
Regardless of the current climate at the club, it was always going to be difficult to keep the player without paying a little over the odds to beat off the contract offers of others. The best time to secure Albrighton’s services would have been a year ago, but at that stage with poor form and injuries, the Villa winger wasn’t somebody you would have invested in.
Albrighton’s return to form, when he was arguably Villa’s best player in the season’s final run-in, would have helped him capture the eye of other teams, but it was too little, too late for Villa to be willing to match or out-do any other suitors’ contract offers.
Return of the Zog
Lambert’s declaration that the bomb squad has been effectively detonated also suggests Charles N’Zogbia may have a role to play in filling in as Villa’s winger option, thus covering Albrighton’s departure. Of course, there are huge questions about the player being motivated to the Villa cause and that’s far from ideal, but N’Zogbia will have to pull his finger out anyway if he wants to save his footballing career.
It’s unlikely anyone would really want to buy a player who hasn’t played for a season. If he wants out of Villa, then a few months of decent performances may make him desirable once again and open up opportunities for a move in the January window.