Almost three months ago MOMS wrote that a true test of Randy Lerner’s commitment to Aston Villa while the ownership saga rumbles on would be the approach he takes to the key contract renewals of Vlaar, Delph and Grealish. That was June, it’s now September.
Villa now have a new man in the form of CEO Tom Fox to get to grips with the situation and it will be the first thing Villa supporters judge him on.
In our original article, Samir Carthurs was also on the list of players that needed their contracts renewed, but obviously Lambert didn’t fancy him and advised him to move on (with the player ending up at MK Dons). If you consider that Gabby Agbonlahor was a given, the other three aforementioned players have ‘must keep’ tattooed on their foreheads.
Obviously none of us are privy to the cat and mouse games that are going on behind the scenes with agents and such like, but the truth of the matter is the player’s wage demands are only going to rise now, especially in the case of Vlaar, Delph and Grealish who have boosted their cache considerably since the end of last season.
The club will already be kicking themselves for not acting sooner.
While Paul Lambert on record at least is adamant that he didn’t receive any offers for Ron Vlaar, I find it hard to believe there was no interest at all. Vlaar’s camp of course would have been curious to see how his World Cup performances increased interest and his value. It’s not as if his agent would have left his phone off the hook.
In Villa’s favour though, the World Cup glow will fade away as the season progresses, but I’m guessing that Vlaar will have his mind made up already whether he will stay or go.
Out of all of Villa’s main contract concerns in their last year, Vlaar would perhaps be more open to a move to a major team abroad. Throw in a decent signing-on fee in his back pocket and also better wages, and the lure maybe too much.
At the same time, if Villa improve and stay top-half in the table, being captain of an improving team could clinch the deal for him to stay.
On one hand Fabian Delph’s rise in the England set up is a great boost for the club and the player, but at the same time it presents a potential headache for Tom Fox at Villa. The player is reported to be on £40,000-a-week and they would have to offer a little more than the rise of £45,000-a-week that was mooted in the Daily Telegraph.
You’d expect the starting point in negotiations to be closer to £50,000. Saying that, Delph has indicated publicly a desire to stay at Villa and the club have looked after him (and paid him) through some serious injury lay-offs.
At this point, Delph would probably be a safer bet than Vlaar in terms of being at Villa next season.
The usual suspects have spun stories and spread the gossip of the Daily Star speculation that Grealish is being head-hunted by Chelsea and in response Villa will offer him new terms on £5000-a-week.
This is one more worthy of Media Muppets, but lets quickly deal with it here.
Jack Grealish is now a first team consideration for Lambert. While most people at age 18 (19 tomorrow) would be happy being paid £5000-a-week (almost a quarter of a million a year), team Grealish can leverage for more in new contract negotiations and Villa should be more than happy to pay it.
A four-year contract has been rumoured to be on the table and should be signed within the next few weeks, if all parties are happy.
As well as being first team material already, Grealish has shown he has a good temperament (unlike a lot of modern day players his age), making him a worthy investment. He’s also a player that could potentially excite the Villa Park faithful in seasons to come, and there’s been a shortage of those kind of players in recent years.
Grealish will also know going to Chelsea could be a potential career cul-de-sac in the short-term. He certainly hasn’t done enough yet to be guaranteed a place in their first team squad, considering some of the players they already send out on loan, due to them having limited first team opportunities.
Chelsea have been notorious in recent years for harvesting up the best youth players in Europe only to then dump them. Grealish and his family will know that and It’s unlikely he’d swap his position at Villa with such a predicament at Chelsea.
Grealish is also too young to be brought by Chelsea and then loaned back to Villa. That would be a pretty pointless exercise.
I’d be very surprised if Grealish doesn’t sign a long-term deal with Villa fairly soon. Maybe it will time with the young Villa winger declaring where his international future will lie – with Ireland or England.
Going back to the Daily Star, the only good story worth its salt they’ve ever ran, was this one.