“There’s no getting away from the fact this club has got a losing mentality,” said Tim Sherwood in the week building up to the FA Cup final. The woeful performance that followed at Wembley compounded the whole situation.
Sherwood had ultimately come up against a more tactically astute manager in the FA Cup final. Yes, Arsenal were man-for-man a better team on paper, but the season before, Wigan, a team heading for relegation had beaten the far superior Manchester City. The last time Villa won the FA Cup in 1957, they had defied ridiculous odds to beat Manchester United. 58 years later, they just didn’t seem to turn up.
If Villa were to begin to progress again, it was a game that had to be a full stop to a period of drastic underachievement. There was no doubt Sherwood would now have to begin a drastic rebuilding job. Roy Keane during his brief time at Villa Park, had commented that many Villa players were on easy street picking up their wages and living a comfortable lifestyle without having any fire in their belly when it came to their football. He also said, Villa were a club in a “coma”. Whatever you think of Keane’s time at Villa, you can’t disagree with his sentiments.
In the last few days Sherwood has made bold steps in beginning to shake-up his pack. Micah Richards coming to Villa could be excellent business, if the ex-Manchester City player gets back on the career trajectory he was previously on.
What has been more insightful though is the kind of players Sherwood is willing to let go.
Sherwood didn’t recall Darren Bent after his Derby loan at the end of last season, because he wasn’t ever going to be in his plans for 2015/16. “I know all about Darren”, said Sherwood about his decision, which was essentially a complimentary smokescreen. While some thought Bent had the chance of a new contract at Villa, the truth was far removed.
Sylla was a player expected to be jettisoned. His four-year contract at Ligue 1 Rennes is a good move for the Mali international, who came to Villa from the lower regions of the French leagues. Certainly Sylla is not in the same league as Carlos Sanchez, and even the Columbian has yet to win over the Villa fans.
The likes of Alexder Tonev, Nicklas Helenius and Antonio Luna are other sub-standard Lambert buys of a similar ilk that have next to no chance of being at Villa come the next season.
Sign of Upgrading
Both Andi Weimann (now Derby) and Matt Lowton (now Burnley) may have escaped the drop with Villa last season, but next season they will be plying their trade in the Championship nether the less. Both players have had their highlights and made contributions playing for the claret and blue, but in the cold light of day, weren’t good enough.
If Villa are to be serious about getting back to being a top-half team, a six out of ten standard of player has no real place at Villa any more. Both Lowton and Weimann still have opportunity to improve and it would be very unfair to write either off, but now is a time for upgrades for Villa. So with Sherwood selling them both on, it’s a good indication that the Villa boss knows that for his team to regain a winning mentality, it has to up it’s quality quota asap.
With this in mind, you’d expect the likes of Aly Cissokho, Philip Senderos and Kieran Richardson to also be moved on too.
The speed of Sherwood’s squad revamp would obviously step up a gear with new owners coming in. Rumours suggest that a consortium is two weeks away from the end of their exclusivity period. If that produces positive results than expect July to be a very interesting month. UTV
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