Aston Villa Players Set to Leave
It’s been touted that this is the week several Aston Villa players will be heading for the exit door. Seemingly the only source of Villa news now, Tony Xia’s Twitter account, suggests that three to four players are set to go. If recent press reports are to be read into, it looks like it will be at least three of Villa top-end wage earners.
With Charles N’Zogbia and Kieran Richardson already gone and Carles Gil off-loaded for next season, even with the additional three incoming players (who will be on more modest wages), if the following three players go, then Villa’s wages will be calibrated closer to a Championship team’s overall wage bill.
Cast you’re mind back to the start of last season and Micah Richards was celebrated as the new captain and lynchpin of the Villa team going into the new season. Sound familiar? It’s pretty much how Tommy Elphick is currently being marketed to Villa supporters.
While there were question marks about Richards’ positional sense and ability to play centre-back before he came to Villa, there’s no doubt most supporters were surprised how poor potentially his only season for Villa was. MOMS picked up on his marking and positional deficiencies early doors in last summer’s preseason, when he gifted goals to both Forest and Wolves.
With that in mind, the news that Sunderland are keen to pay his reported £5 million release clause and bring him to the Stadium of Light is good news for Villa.
Tim Sherwood certainly bought Richards on the basis of the kudos of him once playing for Manchester City and England, while he failing to grasp the reality of what had since happened to the once promising defender.
Richards perhaps is better when he doesn’t have to be the main man in the back four and he perhaps suffered from too much expectation at Villa.
UPDATE – According to national newspaper North-East correspondents, it seems David Moyes recently taking over at the Black Cats has changed the club’s attitude to buying Richards. Apparently no deal is on.
Cast your mind back to Aston Villa’s 6-4 League Cup semi-final win against Blackburn Rovers in 2010 and you’ll remember there was enough evidence in that one game to suggest Brad Guzan would never make it as Villa’s number one. A mixture of poor decision-making and flapping, undermined his promising shot-stopping ability.
Guzan certainly wasn’t the kind of keeper that instilled his backline or Villa supporters with confidence.
Credit where it’s due though, because since that game, Guzan really got his game together and surprised many in becoming Villa’s number one and the USA’s national team keeper. His improvement was impressive, making his later slide from grace, puzzling.
Poor judgment and terrible distribution have recently haunted the Villa keeper, although playing behind Villa’s defence in recent seasons must be enough to give anybody the shakes.
It’s looking ever-likely though that Middlesbrough will take advantage of Villa reportedly being willing to let Guzan go for free, just to get his wages off the balance sheet. A return to the Premier League will certainly be a silver lining for Guzan and will complete a decent summer for him, having also played in the semi-finals of Copa America.
Whether Di Matteo is correct in putting his trust in the inexperienced 21-year-old Pierluigi Gollini as Villa’s new number one, remains to be seen though.
According to the last week or so of press reports, Celtic seem to be making offers to Villa for the services of Scott Sinclair by the hour. And seemingly, every time they are rejected they raise their bid by £10!
Seriously speaking though, there’s no smoke without fire and if the last reported failed bid was £2.75m, both parties should be edging close to a figure that suits both parties.
Not doubt Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers sees his ex-Swansea player as someone who could thrive in the Scottish league.
What would you accept as fair payment? I’m thinking it gets serious past the £3m mark.
I’m divided on Sinclair. He does have some class and has proven he can do a good job at Championship level with the Swans, but he seemed to lack conviction last season. Often, he is found on the fringes of games, when you need him to make things happen. Also, what’s his best position? For me, if Villa hang onto Jordan Ayew, then you might as well cash-in on Sinclair.
Although, saying that, if Ayew does stay, he will miss a chunk of January due to the African Cup of Nations.
Player Number Four
If there was a fourth player to walk out the exit gates of Villa Park, who would you want it to be? Lescott or Bacuna would probably top a lot of people’s lists. MOMS has a list of least 10 players, so it’s difficult to know where to start.
The clock is ticking is though, with less than two weeks to go. Would Roberto Di Matteo take two or three weeks of extra preseason if it was offered to him, he’d more than likely bite your hand off.
This team, judging by the teamsheet and what we’ve seen in preseason so far, is too much like last year’s sorry excuse of a team. It’s not good news, so lets hope the club can pull some rabbits out of the hat before the season kicks off at Sheffield Wednesday.