Emergency loans may help at least two of the remaining Aston Villa bomb squad
Imagine a cash point in the wall of the Trinity Road stand that gave away for free, £20,000-a-day to Villa supporters. What a lovely gesture by Aston Villa FC to the community and fan base that would be.
The sad thing is,instead the club is giving roughly the same amount of money to a handful of players have what hardly kicked a ball for the club in 2013. What remains of the infamous ‘Bomb Squad’ – Shay Given, Alan Hutton, Enda Stevens and Charles N’Zogbia – wages are costing Villa in the region of £150,000-a-week.
Paul Lambert rather than retain their services, as their contracts wound down, exiled them, so – a) They didn’t interfere with the morale of his squad (since they were on higher wages) and b) to force their hands in terms of leaving the club.
Of course, Lambert had ideally planned to cull the bomb squad in the summer, but their current wages proved to be a spanner in the works.
For most players happy to sit around and pick up their inflated wages for doing nothing, there is the potential fallout that their footballing careers could potentially be on the line. The likes of Darren Bent, Stephen Ireland and Barry Bannan managed to get deals out of the club to revive their careers. Now with the January window approaching, the final four left standing are shaping up for their exodus, with two of the four already out on emergency loans which could help them clinch a deal at the start of 2014.
Given’s one month emergency loan to Middlesborough gives him a month to sharpen himself before he’s again in the shop window. It would be hard to imagine Middlesborough paying even half his wages for those four weeks, but still, it’s a positive step for all parties concerned. There’s no doubt Shay Given would have been long gone had it not been for the stumbling block of his reported £55,000-a-week wage. Yes, Villa have been paying that out for almost a year now since he last pulled on the Villa goalkeeper jersey against Millwall in the FA Cup in January 2013.
The young Irish player has been Mr Limbo since Alex McLeish brought him to the club in a cut-price deal. McLeish’s eye for a bargain obviously didn’t measure up to Lambert’s, so Stevens’ emergency loan to Doncaster Rovers will bring him some hope. It follows a similar month’s loan to Notts County at the start of the season.
N’Zogbia was on Lambert’s list for the exit door in the summer, until his ‘holiday accident’ caused a ruptured achilles.
‘It’s a horrible injury, so he’s still a way off. I wouldn’t have thought the rest of the season, but it will still be long-term. We need the injury cleared up,” said Lambert, this week.
‘Yes, we need his injury to clear up so we can finally get rid of the waste of space’ is probably what the Villa boss was thinking when he said it.
N’Zogbia has had two seasons to prove himself and show that he’s deserving of his £50-65,000 wages. Apart from the odd fleeting moment, he’s largely failed to impress.
It still makes us laugh when we read journalists or bloggers writing about N’Zogbia coming back from injury to prove his doubters wrong and Lambert giving him one last chance.
It’s over for him. Finito.
Did you see Darren Bent given another chance after he was exiled? Nope. Stephen Ireland? Nope. Shay Given? Nope.
But still the likes of the Bleacher Report and Birmingham Express trotted out naive articles with assertions like:
“Lambert should give the winger time to recover from this setback and hand him an opportunity to stake a claim for a place in the squad.”
HOW MORE chances do you want to give him?!
“N’Zogbia will strive to prove his critics, Lambert seemingly among them, wrong and show the Villa faithful that he is worth every penny of the hefty transfer fee and his reported £65,000 weekly wage packet—something that could pay dividends for both club and player.”
What parallel fantasy universe does this young writer from the Bleacher Report come from? After coming out with a paragraph like that deserves a whole Media Muppet Watch dedicated to him.
N’Zogbia has had two seasons to prove his worth. He’s always had an attitude problem throughout his career and was the type of player that Villa would normally avoid in the transfer market. He’s more the type of player the likes of Steve Bruce, Sam Allardyce and Alex McLeish would normally buy. A player that has undoubted skill, but their temperament lets him down. The big clubs won’t touch such players, but for the likes of the aforementioned managers, they are worth a punt when you’re managing a newly-promoted or struggling team.
The only thing keeping N’Zogbia at the club is his ruptured Achilles. Which has seriously reduced his transfer value. He’s not even likely to be fit enough to sell in the January window. For starters, he had no preseason and hasn’t trained or played for months. He’s just bad news.
No takers. Not even on emergency loans, since his loan spell with Mallorca came to an end in June. It’s getting to the point where even the Hutton haters are starting to feel sorry for him. At least he’s still plays international football with Scotland to keep him fit!
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