By Adam Volz
Aston Villa’s frustrating January transfer window
It’s probably got to the point where you’re already bored of the tumbleweed gags relating to Aston Villa’s activity in the January transfer window.
Typically, the January window gives managers a chance to right a few wrongs, but for Rémi Garde the window couldn’t be more complicated. Above him is a board who aren’t willing to spend to try and launch a great escape and with Villa being around 10 points adrift at the bottom of the league during the month of January, it’s understandly difficult for players to take Villa seriously as a possible destination.
The frustration Rémi Garde must be currently feeling is understandable. At the time of writing this, Villa are the only team in the bottom six not to buy any players.
“I am disappointed as well. I’m not happy about this,” said Garde, on deadline day. “I’m not stupid by saying we need nobody.”
Also, there’s been rumours that a few players would play the rat card and try to desert the sinking Villa ship. Jolean Lescott was attached to LA Galaxy and Micah Richard was linked to Sunderland. Garde poo-pooed such rumours.
‘No chance,” said Garde of Richards leaving. “Micah is a player who will play rest of season. No chance of that. Same with Jolean Lescott.”
Garde though remains unhappy and it’ll be interesting to see if he doesn’t walk at the end of the season due to the boards lack of dymanism. He’s always felt bringing in two or three players of better quality would reap dramatic results.
“In some games we are close to compete with rivals,” said Garde of Villa’s current position. “But we need that little bit of quality. I tried to sign players but we couldn’t.”
In short, it look likes the Villa boss won’t have a chance to get in any of his own players and has been sold down the river by the Villa board. Trouble-shooting new chairman Steve Hollis was always going to take a caution-first approach, which effectively meant relegation guaranteed.
Yes, Villa are 10 points off the safety mark, which makes it a difficult task to get players in, but don’t believe anybody telling you it puts all players off. There’s only 20 Premier League teams and the money is good, it ultimately boils down to the will of the board. A board who now expect season tickets holders who are locked in for the remaining four months to watch the current squad of non-hopers.
Here’s what’s happened to the Villa targets during the January transfer window and what Rémi Garde has said on them (most quotes from today’s press conference)…
“Matthieu Debuchy will not be joining from Arsenal who wanted a permanent transfer while Villa just wanted a loan deal.” – Remi Garde
Debuchy has been strongly linked with Villa and is desperate to return to first team football, in order to try and gain a place in Didier Deschamps’ Euro 2016 squad. In a candid interview with French publication L’Équipe, the right back stated he ‘cannot stay at Arsenal’ and admitted interest from Villa by explaining that he had spoken with Remi Garde about a potential move.
With Sunderland, Manchester United and Bayer Leverkusen also interested, it seems Villa was a last-resort fall-back option for Debuchy, with the player happy to wait until deadline day to see what materialises. It looks like the player will end up at Bordeaux, as he has a medical booked.
“The work permit denied by FA for Kalinic. Deal was done between player and club. He could have improved the team.” – Rémi Garde
Remi Garde was looking for a long-term solution in goal for Villa. Potential target Steve Mandanda ruled himself out of a move to the Premier League, for now at least, and I think even Remi Garde would himself admit it unlikely that Mandanda would have chosen Villa over one of the several other Premier League sides that are said to be interested in him.
The most likely addition to Villa’s goalkeeping staff within this transfer window was Croatian International Lovre Kalinic. The six foot seven inch Split stopper has broken a club record this season, keeping eight clean sheets in a row for Hajduk Split in the Croatian top flight, and Villa’s head of goalkeeper recruitment, Tony Coton has flown out to see the 25-year-old in action.
A £4.9 Million deal had been agreed between the clubs and Kalinic, but despite a couple of appeals, the work permit situation meant no deal.
‘I spoke at length with Doumbia but [him going to Newcastle] that’s life.’ – Rémi Garde
The Ivory Coast striker has been linked with host of Premier League clubs including Swansea, Leicester and Tottenham, before settling with Newcastle over Villa.
The 28-year-old Roma striker , who is currently on loan at CSKA Moscow, was always an unlikely signing for Villa considering the money they would need for his wages and out-bidding Villa was never going to be too difficult.
“Loic is quite a special one because he knows the country and knows the league. He is part of some players I am trying to attract in Aston Villa for sure.” – Rémi Garde
Garde wasn’t shy in his admiration of the Chelsea striker, however new Chelsea Boss Guus Hiddink has been a bit coy over the availability of the striker and also Leicester seem to be mounting a serious challenge to get the French striker in on loan or in permanently.
Ludovic Lamine Sané
“As a new manager I would have expected new faces to support my change.” – Rémi Garde.
Unsurprisingly, Debuchy isn’t the only Ligue 1 export that Remi Garde has his eye on this window and the Villa manager is reportedly close to signing central defender Lamine Sané from Bordeaux. The Senegal International has played just 11 times for Bordeaux this season and has long desired a move to England.
Although they would prefer to sell, the French club are reportedly willing to allow Sané to move on a loan deal as Garde looks to improve a defence that has conceded 38 times in this league term. If the move is completed as a loan, it would present an opportunity for Sané to ply his trade in England with a relatively low risk factor. He would get the opportunity to showcase his skills to other potential suitors if, as expected, Villa are relegated and at worst return to Bordeaux at the end of the loan.
Villa will face competition from several championship clubs if they are to pursue their interest in the Venezuelan forward who is enjoying a highly successful season in the Eredivisie with NEC Nijmegen. Santos, who can play as a striker or a winger, has scored 12 goals in 18 appearances this season and would give Remi Garde welcome options up front.
With Scott Sinclair potentially departing on deadline, the left-wing position would be one Garde would like to reinforce, and the cash raised from Sinclair’s sale would more than likely cover the cost of Santos, who is out of contact in the summer.
Like Debuchy, Gökhan Inler is another player with one eye on the European Championships in France 2016, and the Switzerland Captain will be eager to get Premier League minutes under his belt in the run up to the tournament this summer.
The vastly experienced Inler, who has played 89 times for his country, would have been as surprised as anyone to have struggled to break into the Leicester side following his summer move, but the emergence of N’Golo Kanté and continued development of Danny Drinkwater in central midfield have meant the former Napoli man has struggled to make an impact.
Furthermore, the Foxes have completed the signing of Daniel Amartey from FC Copenhagen this week and many reports are suggesting this could pave the way for a loan move to Villa, who are alleged to have enquired about the midfielder.
As with every transfer window, and as with every other club, Villa have been linked with numerous players from across the continent, here are a selection of other players the club is said to have enquired about;
Adrian Ramos (Borussia Dortmund) – Columbian Striker Ramos has struggled to establish himself in Dortmund following his move from Hertha Berlin and a loan option has seemingly been sought by the Villans
Laurent Depoitre (Gent) – Villa scouts have visited Belgium to watch the £14 million Gent Striker in action, however he is reported to have turned a move to the club down
Dennis Praet (Anderlecht) – Another bright youngster on the radar of Villa and a host of other clubs across Europe is Dennis Praet. The Belgian International has impressed since establishing himself in the Anderlecht side and was awarded the Belgian Golden Shoe Award for best player in the Belgian First Division for the 2014/15 calendar year.
Youri Tielemans (Anderlecht) – Praet’s club college and touted future star Youri Tielemans is possibly even more unlikely to move to Villa despite being watched by the clubs scouts. The youngest Belgian to ever play in the Champions League (16 years and 148 days) is allegedly being courted by several of Europe’s big guns, including both Manchester clubs, Chelsea, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Borussia Dortmund, but who knows he may favour a move to B6.
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