Nobody expected this latest January transfer window to be too busy for Aston Villa, unless you were the kind of football fan who was doing cartwheels when we signed Simon Dawkins.
The reality of the situation was Villa didn’t really need anyone, bar perhaps cover for Jonathan Kodjia, unless a key player left.
The loan of Axel Tuanzebe from Manchester United essentially covered Tommy Elphick and Ritchie de Laet leaving, with Steve Bruce also having one eye on playing him in Villa’s midfield.
So what about getting in a striker to cover Kodjia’s injury absence?
The One That Got Away
It seems reading between the lines, that Villa only really wanted a striker that would improve the squad in terms of ability rather than just make up the numbers. Leonardo Ulloa seems to have been that man, but obviously he decided to stay in the Premier League with a switch from Leicester City to Brighton & Hove Albion.
Bournemouth’s Lewis Grabban completed a loan move to Villa on deadline day, giving the journeyman striker a chance to play at his biggest club yet.
The 30-year-old is no stranger to a loan deal with this being the third Championship loan he’s had since Bournemouth were promoted to the Premier League.
Last season, Grabban was with Reading (scoring three goals in 16 league appearances), before a more prolific spell at Sunderland this season, that saw him net 12 league goals in 19 appearances (including one at Villa Park).
After starting off with Crystal Palace and Millwall, he also had loan spells with Oldham, Motherwell and Brentford.
While Grabban never cut it as a striker in the Premier League, scoring only once while playing for both the Cherries and Norwich in the league, his record in the Championship is pretty respectable. As well as his haul already this season with lowly Sunderland, Grabban managed 22 in the 2013-14 season for Bournemouth.
Certainly it will be what he’s done recently at the Black Cats that’s clinched him the deal at Villa, and Bruce will feel he’s got himself a decent straight-up No.9 for this league to give him an extra option up top.
There certainly are zero excuses for Villa not getting promoted now.
The Red Herring Brigade…
You know the bloke that scored a brace for Peterborough against Villa in the FA Cup. Reports have suggested that both Villa and the Blues have thought about the 23-year-old, but it’s likely that Posh will want to cash-in on the 23-goal (so far this season) striker in a big way. Maybe the summer will be more realistic for Posh off-loading him for a big profit.
There have been reports in the local press that Villa has an interest in Ipswich Town striker David McGoldrick. Bruce though was quick to dismiss it recently.
“I see him as aand we’ve got a few players in that position,” said Bruce. “I like him but if we’re going to bring somebody in it will be a typical No.9.”
When the Birmingham Mail put out a rumour story about Villa’s interest in McGoldrick, their quoted source was an Ipswich blog, that simply said, “TWTD understands Aston Villa are now showing interest”.
This always seemed a bit of a clickbait mention by the press. The Angers striker ended up moving to Caen in French Ligue 1, although stories made out Villa, Wolves and Cardiff City were all looking at the 22-year-old French striker.
Yes, he’s still a Villa player. Steve Bruce has given him a couple of weeks off to catch up with his family etc, which doesn’t sound like he’s very in-demand at Villa Park.
Whether Melbourne City can afford to extend his loan is in question. It certainly remains his best bet of playing football again this season.
In Other Business…
Reports suggest that Aston Villa have kept an eye on the development of 21-year-old Aberdeen defender Scott McGenna.
Movement in this window was always unlikely though with Villa’s loan signing of Axel Tuanzebe. Also, one of his suitors, Hull City, found out after numerous bids (the latest being around £700,000), that the Dons weren’t letting him go on the cheap.
“I have said before we have no interest in selling Scott and he won’t be sold in this window,” confirmed Dons boss, Derek McInnes.
Despite McInnes’ words though, the rumour stories from the usual suspects kept-a-coming.
Newsflash! Villa have scouts in Europe! One player they have reportedly checked out is 24-year-old Bosnia and Herzegovina international, Haris Duljevic.
The Dynamo Dresden left-winger only joined the German called from FC Sarajevo in the summer, so it was unlikely he’d then move to another league and country so quickly.