By Chris Budd
So the dust has settled on an eventful, yet uninspiring season for the Villa faithful, falling significantly short in the cup final two weeks ago, against Arsenal and the boring defeat to Burnley probably were a fitting snapshot of how most of the season felt. All be it a really sad way for some of our players to realistically end their time at Villa in such a disappointment.
In some ways we find ourselves in a similar position that Ron Atkinson (post Venglos) and Brian Little (Post Atkinson) found themselves in, they inherited jaded sides and kept them up, but then needed to have a complete overhaul before building strong sides that challenged.
In today’s financial climate with more clubs fuelled by TV money and players demanding ridiculous wages, that rebuild job is all the more tougher nowadays though.
Mass exodus? Revolving door? Whatever you want to call it….it will be a summer of change at Villa Park…
The term “limbo” has become a rather annoyingly overused phrase to describe the Villa for far too long now. Since the departure of O’Neill, we’ve seen one or two signings pay off but on the whole, a squad full of mediocre lower division dross arrive and either underachieve or unfortunately, achieve about the level they really are at (which is worse)
You may call this a “Villa shopping brief” as I have no idea names wise who’d Sherwood actually want in (no, he’s not going to be after Emmanuel Adebayor) . Who knows, it might not even be Sherwood calling the shots, if a new owner comes into town and appoints a new manager, when the transfer window opens for business.
The breakdown of what is missing at our club makes for rather grim and more importantly expensive reading, it’s certainly time for our scouts to dust off their passports and earn their money.
Lets start from the top down.
Not strictly a signing but the biggest missing link is at the top. The short and medium term future of the club will be decided soon if Mr Lerner can find a suitable candidate to buy the club. We’re led to believe things are finally moving on that front. Someone ambitious who can win over the fans would help, ideally with good financial backing for Sherwood, although the financial fair play rules will curb any crazy spending.
Just turning up to matches would be a start and appreciating the supporters (especially the away fans) would be a start.
If you look at what teams like Sunderland and Hull spent last season; to still be in the position they were, it proves money doesn’t guarantee success (or safety). As MOMS reported previously, naming rights certainly could come into the equation with any new ownership.
With Bent, Cleverley, Stevens and a bunch of youngsters already out the door, who will join them? The likelihood of Benteke going is getting greater and greater and with Vlaar looking likely to move on that’s three integral part of the team already gone. With Lowton, Cissokho, Weimann a safe bet to join them, along with probably Joe Cole and Senderos, the squad will suddenly be a bit threadbare.
The reality being that villa need quality AND quantity now. There are far too many average players sat in our squad who bring nothing to the team when given a chance.
Sherwood seems up for fast-tracking the youngsters and that is a great thing, but at some point we are going to need to bring in some genuine quality at this level. The stark reality is, that for where the club feels it should be and where the fans would aspire for the team to be, we fall well short in so many positions.
We can look closely at teams like Everton, Southampton and Swansea (who I was very impressed with when they came to Villa Park), they don’t have teams full of superstar names but they seem to have built teams in a clever way and scouted/recruited well….why can’t Villa do the same?
The spine of our team gets its own section. Quite simply the table doesn’t lie, we finished 17th so people saying we have the spine of a good side are off the mark.
Our spine has been inconsistent and that’s why our season went as it did.
- Do we need a solid goalkeeper? YES
- Do we need two solid centre halves? YES
- Do we need ideally two quality midfielders? YES
- DO we need to keep or get a goalscorer and a provider? YES
Click to the next page for a look at Villa’s Goalkeeper, Defence, Midfield and Forward needs