Lambert Prepping for Jan?
It has been a busy and productive week for Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert.
The under fire Villa boss saw his team secure six points in the Premier League with wins against Crystal Palace and Leicester whilst finding time to visit legendary Bayern Munich manager Pep Guardiola in Germany.
Lambert informed the media that he had attended Bayern’s training session, held meetings, enjoyed a long and productive chat with Guardiola and met up with some of his old team mates. It is unclear whether Lambert’s ‘meetings’ concerned player transfers or the pursuit of a new assistant manager, but Lambert himself acknowledged that player recruitment was clearly on his mind,”If we can keep adding players to it (Villa team) let’s see where we go.”
As the weeks tick by it has become increasingly clear that Villa captain Ron Vlaar and Fabian Delph will not be signing new contracts and are looking towards their next move.
Having previously been important first team players, Vlaar and Delph have found themselves sidelined this season through injury and Lambert has found suitable replacements in their absence. Tom Cleverley, although not currently justifying a purported £7.5m price tag, has been industrious and committed in defence, whilst Vlaar’s replacement Jores Okore is statistically Aston Villa’s best player this season.
Should the Villa manager choose to cash in on Vlaar and Delph in January then he would be able to reinvest the money in other positions on the pitch.
Aston Villa January Transfer Window Options
Paul Lambert previously admitted that he was ready to pay around £8m for Dusan Tadic, although a fee could not be agreed with FC Twente. This indicates that Lambert would be willing to pay a similar fee in future for the right player and one option he might consider is Kevin Kampl who currently plays for Red Bull Salzburg.
Kampl is often compared to Marco Reus due to his blonde hair, playing style and the ability to play on the wing or in the attacking midfield position. The Slovenian midfielder would certainly be a good replacement for Charles N’Zogbia on the right-wing in Aston Villa’s team as Lambert already has Grealish, Agbonlahor and Robinson who prefer the left side.
24-year-old Kampl won the player of the year award in Austria last season and was involved in over 40 goals for his team. There may be competition from other clubs but Paul Lambert could offer guaranteed first team football whereas some club’s such as Spurs and Liverpool may not. Kampl is a fan of Arsenal (like Benteke) and dreams of playing in the Premier League, “England has its own charm.”
Joe Cole’s introduction against Burnley added a much needed dose of creativity and vision to Paul Lambert’s team. Unfortunately, the veteran midfield has been plagued with injuries and cannot be counted on regularly by the manager. Therefore, Lambert needs to bring in a younger, more reliable number ten in January.
One player who should be available to buy is Mats Moller Daehli who has been wasted by Cardiff’s manager, Russell Slade. The cultured Norwegian play-maker has featured only sparingly from the bench with Slade opting to use more experienced or robust players. Daehli looked comfortable in the Premier League last season under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and he drew many admiring glances from bigger clubs such as Chelsea. Furthermore, the player only remained at Cardiff due to his loyalty to the manager who has since been replaced by Slade.
Daehli is calm on the ball and is mature for his age. The nimble Norwegian was heralded as a future star when he was at Manchester United and he would add the vision, creativity and composure missing in Joe Cole’s absence.
A common criticism of Paul Lambert’s Aston Villa team has been its failure to control possession. If Lambert desires more possession, as he indicated this week, then he may look to find a player who can keep possession of the ball and link defence and attack together more smoothly.
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg is a 19-year-old Bayern Munich midfielder who is currently angling for a move away. It is unclear whether the youngster will leave Bayern on a permanent transfer or a loan but the Dane desperately wants to play football which could make a move to a team like Aston Villa more attractive. The midfielder’s availability is likely to alert many clubs but you would hope that Hojbjerg would have been a topic of discussion between Guardiola and Lambert this week.
Hojbjerg is highly rated by Guardiola who will not want to lose him permanently and a loan move may be the best option at the present time. Hojbjerg played with Jores Okore recently for the Denmark in their victory over Armenia and he scored Denmark’s first goal. The young Dane’s most notable recent performance was against Manchester City where Bayern were reduced to ten men for the majority of the game, yet the youngster remained calm, composed and rarely misplaced a pass.
Hojbjerg would add some much needed quality to Aston Villa’s central midfield which has too often lacked composure and intelligence.
Whether Lambert will look to add any players in January remains to be seen, but if he were to lose Vlaar and Delph as feared then he would have more room to move in the market. UTV
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