World Cup Worries

There was one concern for Aston Villa supporters in the months  leading up to the World Cup in Brazil. Were we going to see the last of Christian Benteke? If Benteke impressed in Brazil, Villa would have the best possible window of opportunity to cash in on the Belgian forward. Lerner would have gleefully banked £30 million-plus, prior to the club’s sale. As it turned out, Benteke’s injury put paid to that. In terms of the World Cup, Ron Vlaar would be Villa’s main first team international representation.

There’s a school of thought that Vlaar due to being  injury-prone earlier in his career, missed out on the chance of playing at one of Europe’s top clubs. Villa were willing to take a chance on him, in a similar way to which they had enlisted the services of  Paul McGrath and Martin Laursen in the past. Vlaar wasn’t a mainstay in the Dutch international team before the World Cup. The Villa captain returning from Brazil and signing a new contract seemed liked a formality. He wasn’t expected to be away for long either. This was a far from a vintage Holland team going to Brazil and they potentially would struggle to get out of a group that boasted the reigning World Champions Spain and an impressive Chile team.

Ron Vlaar stepped up though to be heralded as one of the best centre-backs of the tournament. He helped the Dutch blaze through the group stages with a 100% record dismantling Spain along the way. Then he helped them perform a houdini act against Mexico and squeeze out the plucky Costa Rican threat. Once settled the Holland back three registered three consecutive clean sheets in the knock-out stages, with a standout colossus performance by Vlaar in snuffing out the threat of Messi in the semi-final. It was a 120 minute performance that probably added a couple of million to the Villa captain’s transfer fee.

In the biggest shop window in football, Vlaar has suddenly found himself front and centre

 

Vlaar’s Villa Park return?

By the time Vlaar touches back down in the UK after the tournament, he would have received numerous offers from top European clubs. At the age of 29-years-old, his next move will be a defining one in his career. Very much in his prime as a defender, no doubt his agent will be  suggesting he should be playing Champions League football.

It’s hard to find reasons for him to want to stay at Villa under the current climate where everything from chairman down is in an interim limbo. Despite the single year on his contract, Villa could expect to make a profit on the three million odd fee they paid. That would be too much for Lerner to resist.

At the level Villa are operating at in the transfer market, they will probably see Philippe Senderos as Vlaar’s ready-made replacement. Villa supporters would beg to differ and they would be right to. You just have to compare the two centre-back’s World Cups to get a fair reflection of the difference in the two players. Look what happened to Switzerland when Senderos came on for them against France. He was never seen in the tournament again.

Vlaar by his own admission may have been less than convincing in his first season at Villa and also suffered from Jores Okore’s injury last season, but with the return of the Dane, his best season for Villa is ahead of him. The added pressure of anchoring a youthful and inexperienced backline in the past couple of seasons would make any defender look ordinary. That’s not Vlaar’s fault, but his manager’s.

Trouble ahead?

At the moment, it’s difficult to predict what will happen to Villa next season. Naturally as a fan, despite the turbulent clouds above the club, you approach every new season with fresh optimism. If Vlaar decides to leave and Senderos is his only replacement, then Lerner is seriously gambling with the future of the club. If the club struggles at the beginning of the season, potential buyers won’t be queuing up. His asset striping of the club with Poundland replacements could come back to seriously bite the Villa chairman in the pocket, leaving him with a Championship club on his hands devoid of Premier League TV money that is the club’s prime asset.

Giant Gesture

There was a key moment at Villa’s final home game last season. After the match against Hull had finished, in the lap of honour that followed, the Villa captain spotted in the Holte the giant Vlaar shirt the Brigada 1874 Ultras had made in his honour, crouching down he got his kids attention and pointed to the shirt. In an ideal world you’d hope that Vlaar will get sentimental and see the efforts of the Brigada, as a symbol he is loved at Villa Park and stay on. In reality, it would take a decent pay increase and the club somehow persuading him they have some ambition for the immediate future.

Lets hope the giant shirt doesn’t end up as a premature goodbye gesture and can’t be used next season. UTV

 

 

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10 COMMENTS

  1. The Fulham Chronicle is reporting that QPR want to buy him for £4 million! It’s the most laughable thing I’ve read all day!

  2. Now that the World Cup is over the Ron Vlaar transfer rumours have begun in earnest. Roma, the first club to be linked.

  3. Will be interesting to see if Vlaar signs the new contract offered. However if he refuses it might not be a bad thing, his value is at the highest it has been. See what AVFC could get for him on the market, and re-invest in the squad. Gotta be a young CB out there for a price.

    Senderos is no replacement, not sure exactly what he is except slow. We don’t play a man on the line for corners and that’s the only position he has the pace for.

  4. remember Alpay. He was a star at a world cup 16 (??) Years ago, came back, said he would not play for villa, that was goodbye

    An effigy was hung on a lamppost outside villa park

    Vlaar is not Alpay, might run down his contract. But if he is chosen as one of the star players in the final critics choice, expect him to want to move, Van Gaal is a fan of his player.

    trevor fisher

    • Remember it well. He got a little bit too big for his boots, but also Graham Taylor froze him out. A quote from Peter Schmeichel on the situation: “What happened after the World Cup, when he was frozen out by Graham Taylor, was sad. There are a lot of politics at Villa, and the way Alpay was portrayed as a money-grabber was nothing like the guy that I know. Taylor is just not keen on players with a bigger profile than himself.” Obviously, the Beckham incident happened and that was that. I doubt Vlaar would self-destruct in the same way!

  5. Mybe we should give Senderos a chance before judging him. Not just from 20 min i WC in a team that already broked down

    • I’ve seen him play for Arsenal a bunch of times, plus for Fulham. Put it this way, it was always a good thing, if he was playing against Villa.

  6. Lambert has already said that offers to buy Vlaar will be rejected , & although it does happen direct ofers to players are illegal . Last summer the club took the no sale stance with Benteke , sadly that misfired by him getting injured. However despite the fact the club is for sale why should No sale meananything other than no sale for a player who is clearly need if the club is to be sold as a going concern . And yes I realise that after the recent struggles against relegation some might question that , but even if this is another season near the bottom ,which I hope it is not,we need players such as Vlaar . So even if he rejects the new contract awaiting his return he still has a year left on his existing one which could be vital to Villa

    • Lerner will be the one to decide. If the £££ is right and Ron says he’s open to the move, then Lambert will be powerless. You’re right, we do need players like Vlaar at the moment, in what will be a tricky season.

  7. it would be hard to see him go,,, and understandable,,, but right time for a move,,, if i was brendan rodgers i would be sniffing very strongly,,

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