With a new Italian keeper ready to replace the shaky American that stood in between the sticks last season and Aaron Tshibola finally forcing his move to Villa, after the Reading manager underlined he was going nowhere, the confidence of fans is starting to rise. With the spine of the team given a youthful injection, Di Matteo this week outlined that his main focus is drastically cutting the sheer size of the squad down. Expect the likes of Joleon Lescott, Brad Guzan and co. to be potentially walking out the door in the next few weeks.
Cutting the Fat
With Di Matteo outlining that we should expect more outgoings in the next few weeks, it’s interesting to see which players he will decide are no use for this season’s promotion push.
Marseille’s Villa Shopping
According to Sky Sports Marseille had triggered a reported £7.1m release clause of Villa’s Senegalese midfielder Idrissa Gana, although that seemed to be out of sync with the reality of Marseille’s financial situation. The reportedly cash-strapped club have been busy offloading key assets like Michy Batshuayi to Chelsea, Benjamin Mendy to Monaco and Mario Lemina to Juventus.
Would Marseille see Gana as a viable investment in that context? It reminds to be seen. When you consider he’ll probably be representing Senegal in the African Nations in the first month of 2017, if Villa can get £7million for him, it would be worth selling.
It’s doubtful Di Matteo wants to part ways with him though as he’s a very solid ball winner who was up there with Leicester’s N’Golo Kante in terms of stats last season.
Meanwhile, back in Marseille, the rumour mill has suggested Carlos Sanchez could be their cheaper back-up option at a fee of up to £3million. Personally, Sanchez would probably be a good fit for the French league.
After Celtic have already put two bids in for Scott Sinclair, the Telegraph have reported that they’ve come back with an improved third bid for Villa to ponder over. It was made clear before that Sinclair will only leave if the money is right. As I mentioned in the last wrap, we’ve allegedly slapped a £6m price tag on him and as it stands, Celtic don’t look very close to that. Maybe £4m would be where the conversation would actually start for real.
After Hal-Robson Kanu lit up the Euros with a Cruyff turn that led to one of the best goals in the tournament, fans of every club’s eyes lit up at the prospect of signing him on a free contract.
However, many Reading fans will tell how disappointing he was for them last season and in that case; his performances may have been just down to his pride for playing for his country. Either way, we won’t be getting him as the Guardian has reported on Hull City entering talks with the Welshman and then there’s reports of a Chinese Super League offering him £100,000-a-week!
Big Role for Jack
All summer the papers have tried to make out that Jack Grealish might be leaving and he was pretty much flavour of the month in June. However, after joining up with the squad in Austria and having a sit down with Di Matteo, he’s determined to play a big role in Villa’s promotion push next season.
The Birmingham Mail reported (from Villa’s website) on how the young lad will be going nowhere and applying his trade at his beloved Villa Park next season. Di Matteo admires his talents and I’m sure he’ll fit him into a role that will help him prosper in the upcoming season. Good on ya Jack.
Uncertain Striking Transfer Targets
One of Villa’s definite aims in this transfer window is to sign a prolific striker that can almost guarantee a solid promotion push with 20+ goals and as Villa’s strike force lacks a little bit of pace, I expect that striker to be fairly quick off the mark as well.
Beforehand we were linked in the papers with the likes of Patrick Bamford and Ross McCormack, but apparently, both deals are not likely at all as neither player is on Di Matteo’s radar.
Furthermore, this week we were linked with Jonathan Kodjia from Bristol City, who knew how to find the back of the net last season. However, BBC’s Pat Murphy stated that the rumour lacks substance as the club according to him haven’t made any contact with Bristol yet in terms of a bid, but he may be on our shortlist.
Follow Chad on Twitter – @ChadBillyWrenn
Follow MOMS on Twitter – @oldmansaid