January Transfer Window
So, lets cut to the chase, what do Aston Villa need in the January transfer window?
Well, to be honest, I’m tempted to say nothing beyond a loan to cover Kodjia to give us more depth up front. Preferably a striker who’s used to scoring.
Apart from that, in MOMS opinion we’re sorted.
Why? Read on…
There was a lot of whining and hyperbole about Villa’s supposed injury crisis, but this weekend in the FA Cup should see the return of John Terry, Andre Green and Henri Lansbury (again). The latest wave of players to be fit again and back in the fold.
Going into 2018, Steve Bruce will now be spoilt for choice in most positions and has options to switch things up and around.
The injury card was slightly over played compared to other Championship squads that don’t have Villa’s depth.
For example, one match report said Villa had ‘nine first teamers’ missing against Middlesbrough, after a bout of winter illness added to the injuries, which suggests that Villa’s first XI was depleted.
But look at the line-up…
Line-up vs Middlesbrough
- El Mohamady Abdel Fattah
Bar John Terry, who is there missing who would walk into the starting Villa line-up?
Jack Grealish was on the bench and came on. Maybe Davis, but Hogan, if playing to his price tag would be first choice.
Even Jonathan Kodjia is only missed as an option to change things up, because based on Villa’s best performance of the season against Bristol City, one of the best teams in the Championship (and best away teams), Villa flexed their full potential as a team without him.
What isn’t mentioned much by the media or indeed the manager is Villa have much strength in-depth for a Championship team.
Even during the injury crisis – the likes of Ritchie De Laet, Birkir Bjarnason, Henri Lansbury, James Bree, and Tommy Elphick (until recently) have hardly had a sniff of playing time.
Pretty much all four of those players would get into most Championship first XI’s.
Injuries have also benefited Villa – we’ve discovered Keinan Davis as the real deal, the left-winger Albert Adomah and the reborn Tommy Elphick.
Villa have squad strength that is unmatched in the league, the issue always has been to get them to play well as a team and be more positive.
Alan Hutton has proven he can play left-back well enough to keep Neil Taylor out of the team at times. Tommy Elphick’s second Villa life is a welcome boost and means we don’t need to get any centre-back cover in. Chris Samba will be fit again, so with Terry and Chester, that’s an experienced and able quartet.
I’ve lost count of how many right-backs Villa have, so we’re ok there.
The key to Villa getting serious in the promotion chase has always been the midfield. Hopefully, the Bristol City game will be a template of things to come.
With the roll call of midfielders we have there is no need for anybody else.
Conor Hourihane and Jack Grealish, playing in front of Jedinak, with Snodgrass and Adomah is the way forward. Then you have Onomah, Lansbury and Birkir Bjarnason to rotate in to add spark, with Whelan able to play DM to cover Jedinak.
Then there’s the likes of Callum O’Hare, Andre Green and Jake Doyle-Hayes to consider too.
It’s an embarrassment of riches at this level.
It’s just up to Bruce to get them to tick consistently.
As discussed above.
It looks like Bruce will go with a single striker to accommodate Grealish, despite what he’s previously said about preferring two up top.
Scott Hogan should improve with games and with a more positive playing style from the team. Keinan Davis is now always an option.
Agbonlahor can’t be relied on and with Kodjia looking like he’ll be out for a while, the choice for Bruce is whether to go for a young and upcoming talent like Manchester United’s James Wilson or an older head on the fringes of the first team elsewhere.
So, apart from making sure we’re not short in the fire power department, I think we’re pretty much set.
In terms of being a squad fit for promotion, there’s no excuses for failure.