January Sales Prospects for Aston Villa, as they Decide Whether to Stick or Twist

January Window Euro Sales Scouting

By Liam Scahill

As the January transfer window approaches, Aston Villa are no longer in a world where the Championship abyss and FFP ball & chain can curtail their ambition. With some turbulent weeks of both rumour, conjecture and hijinks awaiting clubs across the footballing pyramid, the January Transfer window is also a time that conjures reflection.

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Last season’s mid-term business is best forgotten but the club has enjoyed some success in the past in the month of January, who can forget when a Colombian hitman Angel rocked up to Villa Park, after weeks of increasing rancour between Ellis and manager John Gregory. Or when the Martin O’Neill revolution secured its key protagonists in Ashley Young and John Carew?

Are Villa at a Juninho moment?

Back in January 1999, Villa found themselves top of the pile after an extraordinary first half of the season. The then manager John Gregory greatly desired a sprinkling of magic with Brazilian flavour, a vintage harvest of genius to push his charges through the second half of the season.

Atletico Madrid’s Juninho was his target but alas the financial obstacles proved too much and the deal fell by the wayside along with Villa’s title ambitions that season. Juninho ended up at Middlesborough, a destination that became popular for other Villa players who complained the club lacked ambition.

The loan deal for Ross Barkley indicated that Villa weren’t going to make that mistake again in compromising their potential legacy.

So what about the here and now?

Villa’s omnipresence in the higher echelons of the Premier League this season presents the club with a good hand going into January. A Boxing Day win against Palace would certainly help the cosmetic look of the club in terms of their league position going into January.

The right January business could certainly strengthen what would have been an unexpected European Qualification charge, at the start of the season. 

B6 is again becoming a destination rather than a second/third option for footballing talent and ‘Samagoal’ size like transfer gambles may not be required at this juncture, if injuries stay away.

The return of Wesley will be considered as a new signing, so does Smith stick or twist?

European Transfer Options

Let’s have a perusal through the January Euro sales for a potential bargain or two….

Myron Boadu 

AZ Alkmaar’s Dutch U21 international striker was the receiver of many a superlative last season, but not quite so many this season, as is so often the case with young talents. Boudu at the slender age of 19 is a prospect that mesmerises you by the possibilities and the permutations of what he could be.

2020 has been year of turmoil for everyone and the Dutch-born starlet has been no exception, his form is a shadow of last season and in a recent interview he attributed his on the field struggles to a number of niggling injuries and the fact he contracted COVID-19.

Despite all of this, Boadu remains a player who seems destined for big things with Italian giants AC Milan said to be one of his many admirers. In recent times Villa are no strangers to duelling with the Rossoneri in the transfer world, after being pipped to the signing of the explosive Rafael Leão who scored the fastest goal in Serie A history this December.

Boadu a revelation last season scoring 20 goals and assisting 13 in 39 appearances with AZ Alkmaar fits the mould of Villa’s current transfer ethos, given he has a massive scope to improve both in profile & value. 

He is at home in a 4-3-3 formation, a hard-working honest poacher with an eye for goal that could lessen the burden on Watkins, what is not to love?    

Potential stumbling blocks: Brexit & his agent is Mino Raiola

Renato Sanches 

The impact of the Mediapro TV rights deal collapse in France means a number of Ligue 1 clubs will be desperate for cash amidst a challenging football financial landscape. Sanches is no stranger to British shores after a bizarre unsuccessful spell at Swansea City (2017/18), he has since resurrected his career under Christophe Galtier’s expert tutelage at Lille OSC.

There is a feeling that Lille OSC will need to sell their prized assets for the greater good & economic balance in the short-term as the window approaches. 

The Portuguese midfielder’s performances have been so good of late there is said to be interest from Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool, tabbing the combative midfielder as a potential future replacement for Gini Wijnaldum (big praise indeed).

Sanches still just 23 is said to want out of the financial storm at Lille and is open to finding a new home. 

Villa may well be endowed with talent in the central of midfield but if Ligue 1 is set to embark on a fire sale of players Johan Lange and co would be foolish overlook a player of this quality. 

Potential stumbling blocks: Central midfield is currently strong & Klopp’s smile

Irvin Cardona

Staying in France (there is a fire sale after all, why leave?) there is a player who has conjured a FIFA Puskas award contender, that is attracting admiring glances from European clubs.

The Brest forward is a Dean Smith type player, as in he is comfortable in any position across the front three (including on the wing) and at 23 Cardona is now blossoming into a player of some potential after suffering a few years of flux in his embryonic football career having been deemed surplus to requirements at AS Monaco.

Cardona wasn’t part of the plans for Monaco’s first team and after graduating from their academy he was shipped to the Belgium league where he spent two seasons playing for Cercle Brugge, his form in the Belgium league enticed the interest of his current employers Stade Brestois and since, Cardona has not looked back.

The skilful striker who is eligible for both France and Malta internationally has an eye for the spectacular and a capacity for sorcery that can leave you gape-jawed at his moments of magnificence.

Not only does the Frenchman have skill and creativity but he has something that Villa have lacked in recent times, raw mobility & pace that could aid his potential transition to English football.

Potential stumbling blocks: Villa maybe seeking a striker bigger in physical stature & very similar in ways to Watkins  

 Josh Sargent

Who remembers the famous ginger puker ‘Super Tommy Johnson’? He was so nervous playing at Villa Park having signed from Derby County, he couldn’t keep his lunch down? The ginger Geordie was the last Villa striker of note to have been blessed with carrot locks, well isn’t it time for another?

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Meet a ginger-ninja-yank by the name of Josh Sergent who is making waves in the German Bundesliga playing for Werder Bremen, the American speedster is a hard working forward who is tailor-made for the modern game, where forwards must press and harry opposition defenders. 

The levels of intensity Sargent brings to the pitch means he is instantly a hit with fans who crave hard work. Like any player he has his weaknesses and at this moment in time Sargent needs to add scoring emphatically to his repertoire of skills.

He is more comfortable on the left of a forward-three but works at a ferocious rate in a central role also, at the slender age of 20-years-old the American is an emancipatory prospect full of blood-headed bluster that could bring Villa success both on the field and off it, given his potential marketability across the pond that Wes Edens would welcome. 

Potential stumbling blocks: Villa have been burnt by yanks in the past & would not get his preferred left of a forward three position given we have SUPER JACK  

Further Villa Sale Items Below

Robin Gosens

Capable of playing both as a left-back & left wing-back, Gosens is another Atalanta success story. The Germany international joined the club from Heracles Almelo in 2017, and has firmly established himself as a vital component of Atalanta’s first XI under manager Gian Piero Gasperini.

Having made his German international bow this year, the left sided wizard is attracting the interest of some of Europe’s big boys, but hey, isn’t that where Villa want to be someday?

Gosens would provide more than just healthy competition to Matt Targett, he would be a signing of intent and the mouth-watering prospect of him & Grealish attacking in unison down the same flank would be a sight to behold. 

Atalanta are shrewd operators in the transfer market and Gosens, who cost them (€900,000) next to nothing, when they plunked him from Dutch football a few years ago. They would demand a transfer fee in excess of 20-million-pounds, which is perhaps not a figure Villa would want to entertain after their summer spend (bit too heavy for Villa given Targett is performing admirably of late). 

Potential stumbling blocks: Money & Juventus and Inter are interested

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3 COMMENTS

  1. Id try get Barkley on cheap now not wait until he goes up in value. I really rate him. Certainly need some cover for Watkins with Wes being unavailabe for may weeks yet. We could seriously be challenging for Europe. I think an experienced srtiker on short term deal is the priority. Aguero on loan be amazing.

  2. No doubt we should be strengthening our squad in January we definitely need cover for Watkins should he get injured, to continue going well we need belt and braces in this league.

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