First Villa Signing

As expected former Bournemouth captain Tommy Elphick has joined Aston Villa in what is reported to around £3 million in a three-year deal.

During almost four years at Bournemouth, Elphick played a vital part as the Cherries captain during the most successful period of the club’s history, including winning the Championship title in the 2014/2015 season.

The centre-back played 145 times for Bournemouth across three divisions, although injury limited him to 12 games last season.

Elphick Tribute

There was certainly a lot of love shown for Elphick on the Bournemouth club website after the transfer was confirmed, topped off with a statement from Cherries CEO Neill Blake who labeled the former Bournemouth captain as a model professional.
“I would like to place on record my thanks, and that of everyone connected with AFC Bournemouth, to Tommy Elphick for his service to this football club over the past four years,” commented Blake.

“Throughout his time here he has been a model professional, and will now leave behind the legacy of being this football club’s most successful captain, leading us to two promotions and two club-record finishes.

“It is always difficult to say goodbye to people who have played such a huge part in our success, but we now wish him all the best in his next challenge at Aston Villa.”

Changing of the Guard

The arrival of Elphick is already is a clear indication of the change to come at Villa Park. The former Bournemouth will certainly be in the frame to be Villa captain in a new look first team and his arrival will certainly mean that at least one (if not all) of main four current centre-backs – Micah Richards, Joleon Lescott, Jores Okore and Ciaran Clark – will be shown the door.

If you had to pick one of those four centre-backs to partner Elphick, you would probably go with the pace of Okore, wouldn’t you?

The Danish centre-back though might be the most desirable of the Villa centre-backs for vultures to pick off in the summer transfer window. It’ll be interesting to see what happens with Richards, whose stock will have dropped considerably after last season, although many had question marks about him in the first place. For that reason, he may still be on Villa’s books come the start of the season.

The indications are that Ciaran Clark may seek pastures new, but despite reports of WBA and Sunderland interest, there doesn’t seem to be a long line of suitors. It is probably time the club cut their losses with the error-prone Irish centre-back though.

If Villa can also off-load the mistake of a signing that was Lescott, then they certainly should do. That would leave the question of whether Nathan Baker should be welcomed back into the fold after his decent loan period at Bristol City. If you look at Villa needing a quartet of centre-backs to get through next season, then maybe Baker should be one of them.

There’s previously been a few local newspaper stories about Villa’s first signing needing to be a striker. That’s lazy journalism and showing little pragmatic football knowledge. Most successful sides are built, starting from the back.

The main Achilles heel in recent seasons for Aston Villa have been the lack of organisation and discipline in defence. Tommy Elphick is certainly a solid step in the right direction of solving that problem.

UTV

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4 COMMENTS

  1. Richards, if he stays should only ever play @ RB. Elphick has proved himself as not only a model professional, but an inspirational leader, & in that would be a ideal choice as Captain. I would like to see Okore stay as not only does he have pace, but also can read a game. Baker is a no brainer as can also cover at LB if required. Toner is one definitely for the future.

    We need a top quality keeper who the back four have confidence in. Gary Gardner should be a shoe in with the experience he has gained in playing regular first team football @ Forest. Will Gana stay? I somehow doubt it as he is definite Premiership quality along with Amavi & Ayew. Jury is still out on Traore as under the bad crop + injuries we did not see enough of, will he stay? That all depends on the wages. Win bonus is the way to go with these players. Make them hungry for success. Gestede to stay as I believe with service from Traore & possibly Amavi he will be as good as you get in the Championship. For the first time in a long while, I am genuinely looking forward to the coming season. A fresh new chapter in the history of AVFC.

  2. At face value this is a good positive signing, certainly the type of player we need to plug the gaps at the back. As a player who has spent most of his career in the lower leagues, I expect we are getting someone who is hard working, tough and willing to give 100% every game. The complete opposite to Lescott, Gabby and co effectively. I am hoping this will hasten the exit of Lescott who should never be allowed to pull on a Villa jersey again. I think Elphick along with Baker, Clark and Toner should provide sufficient cover at centre back, Okore too, provided he wants to stay and give it his all. As for Richards, I could just about tolerate him staying provided he takes his pay cut, accepts that he is not a centre half and knuckles down. An apology to the fans for some of his conduct last season wouldn’t go a miss either. Next positions to address should be Goalkeeper (Guzan out) and central midfield where we need another experienced grafter.

  3. if elphick is a bit slow he will need someone who can read the game and have the speed and pace to react

    that automatically rules out lescott clark baker and richards

    richards however would be a fine right back,,, and if used right will score some goals too

    okore is the one to keep,, with toner , you could then sell the rest and buy a young prospect

  4. Mmm. Richards not a center back, needs to learn how to stay in position and not get his head played with by the opposition, can go with Lescott and my blessings. Clark, would prefer to cash in, but he’s played at the Euro’s like a Villa defender so keep him one more year. Baker too. Okore hold onto if possible. Elphick was a good fit, but wasn’t Bournemouth one of the few to allow us three points? Really wanna see who goes and for how much.

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