Tumble Weed Reality
Not an actual lot has happened in the two-week international break beyond 1000 clickbait John Terry stories aimed at Villa fans. MOMS couldn’t even fake interest in Terry’s mooted move to Spartak Moscow, mainly because it had nothing to do with the fortunes of Villa this season. The latest JT news is Frank Lampard says Terry is not joining Derby County – whoopee do.
it may have escaped people’s notice that the season is well under way and if Terry really wanted to deal with ‘unfinished business’ in B6, he’d be in a Villa shirt at the moment.
Currently, JT’s situation is all about himself and how much money he can earn, in what is likely to be the final throw of the dice as a player. Villa provided him with a bumper pay day last season, as Bruce and co thought he’d be the missing piece of the promotion jigsaw.
It’s now time for Villans to move on and focus on their task in hand, one that Terry ultimately failed to achieve with Villa last season.
Don’t get me wrong, Terry put in some good shifts in a Villa shirt, especially in the early part of last season, but there’s one irony that remains when it comes to Bruce and his central defenders.
Bruce paid out a reported £60,000-a-week for a player (who at 36/37 years old was partly trading on past reputation), who captained a strong collection of Villa players to 4th place. Meanwhile, the Villa boss, at the same time discarded a centre back being paid half of Terry’s wage, who had already captained a lesser team on paper to the Championship title at his former club.
Now, I’m not saying Elphick is a better player than Terry, far from it, but it does highlight the current Villa manager’s struggle to gel a true team out of a decent squad of players. After all, Elphick was good enough to help win the title at Bournemouth for Eddie Howe, who was a relative inexperienced 37-years-old manager at the time.
The fact of the matter is Championship teams don’t need to spend £60k-a-week on a centre back to get promotion. It’s like buying a Rolls Royce to just do the school run, it’s an elaborate waste of money. It was typical of Tony Xia’s overspend on the promotion project.
Terry has had a successful and storied career, so can command such a price, it’s just that Villa shouldn’t be entertaining to pay it. This is not practical Championship squad building as last season’s failure and financial burn out proved.
Bruce suggested in the pre-Blackburn press conference, if the price was right, Terry would have been lining up for a second season at Villa Park.
“If all was right and we could afford John, we would have him back in a heartbeat,” said Bruce. “But we’re not in a position to offer him the salary that he was on last season.”
“We certainly weren’t able to compete with the offer he had in Russia, either.”
That’s correct Bruce, because Aston Villa now have to act like the Championship team they are.
The fact there’s been no movement on links to other free agents like Robert Huth and James Collins suggests these deals were also unlikely. If Villa were going to get a free agent centre back in, it would have been during the international break. But, again, these are the wrong type of players for Villa.
Think about it, these free agents are rich individuals and in the twilight of their careers and past their sell-by dates. They are unlikely to be super motivated to the Villa cause. Financially, it’s almost like one more job for the road. This is not the kind of player Villa need right now.
To be fair to the press, they are mainly churning out the Terry and other free agent links because it’s glaringly obvious that there are deficiencies at the centre back position at Villa. Bruce has certainly dropped the ball in that department and it does undermine Villa’s promotion prospects.
A lot was made about Villa pipping Middlesbrough to the loan signing of Yannick Bolasie. Ultimately though, if you could have pipped Tony Pulis to any signing, it would have been his £7m summer signing of former Bristol City goal-scoring centre back Aden Flint.
Villa have to hope that their recruits at the other end of the pitch, like Bolasie, Anwar El Ghazi and Tammy Abraham can keep Villa in promotion contention before the January window opens. When hopefully some balance can be finally brought to Villa’s backline.