With the process of the Glen Whelan signing from Stoke finally completed today, ending a nine-year stint for the Irish midfielder at the Potters, expect the incoming transfer door at Villa to wedge shut for the foreseeable future.
The medicals this week of both Whelan and Amed Elmohamady seem to be the last at Bodymoor Heath until existing Villa players are shipped out.
Villa owner Tony Xia, said as much in his tweet today (see below). Hinting in an equation that they’ll be none in until players leave, and suggesting there could be between five and eight earmarked to move on.
— Dr. Tony Xia (@Dr_TonyXia) July 20, 2017
Steve Bruce’s main transfer activity though in building his promotion team was in January, and at the time, it looked to be decent business. It’s the likes of Henri Lansbury, Conor Hourihane, Scott Hogan, Birkir Bjarnason and James Bree that need to step up to turn Villa into promotion team, rather than additional players coming in to play in their places.
This summer has simply seen Bruce add some trimmings.
John Terry was a little extra presence, Sam Johnstone is simply extending his initial January loan signing, while Elmohamady is a squad-strengthening tweak, with Whelan perhaps the most pivotal signing of the bunch, if he becomes an impactful enforcer of Villa’s midfield, and allows Villa’s supposed more creative players to work further up the pitch.
It’s been suggested that centre-back Chris Samba is on the brink of signing for Villa after his extended trial, but that happening will no doubt be connected to the shipping out of either/both Tommy Elphick and Micah Richards. Update – Samba has been signed up, so it looks like Elphick has agreed to a deal somewhere.
Remember, in signing Terry, Villa are already one centre-back up on last season.
Elphick is expected to got to the Blues, while Richards and his reported £60,000-a-week wage, will present Villa with a major headache in terms of moving him on.
There’s no agent on the planet that will get him the same wage elsewhere, so Villa will probably end up loaning him out and paying a sizeable % of his wage.
Then there’s the issue of right-back. It’s a stark contrast to the days of early Martin O’Neill, when Villa were without a recognised right-back at the club, and were forced to play Olof Mellberg or Carlos Cuellar in the position, before finally signing Luke Young.
Now, Villa, with the addition of Elmohamady, have six options at right-back, with five of the current squad having all played the position for Villa – Alan Hutton, Ritchie De Laet, James Bree, Leandro Bacuna, and Micah Richards.
One or two of them, certainly need to go.
Meanwhile on the left side, Jordan Amavi is still expected to leave.
In midfield, with Whelan adding to the increasing competition in the middle of the park, Gary Gardner will certainly be questioning his future at the club, as will Jack Grealish.
With the emergence of Andre Green, where does Grealish fit in now, beyond the bench? This will be one of the defining seasons in his career. If he’s as good as he’s been hyped up to be, Grealish will break through and spur us on to promotion. If not, then he may have to seek football elsewhere.
In terms of definite midfield outs, Jordan Veretout is nailed on to leave.
Up front, it seems Bruce has a soft spot for Gabby Agbonlahor and it is Ross McMormack that is most at risk of the chop, despite his efforts in preseason to rehabilitate his reputation.
With the growing competition for places, the biggest concern on the minds of most Villa supporters is will the Villa manager know his best XI and formation by the time the season kicks off?
It will be vital he does, if Villa want to start looking like a side intent on promotion.
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I agree with C.Gale 💯Elmohamady has been signed as a winger & all this talk of having too many right backs is ridiculous! Bacuna, Richards & Elmohamady are not right backs, they cover there or play there if required but it is not their prominent positions! Same as Grealish being classed as a midfielder, he is a winger & is Villa through & through so therefore is going no where! The players that need to go are Veretout, Gil, Amavi, Richards, McCormack & Elphick who have all been a complete waste of money! Of the three right backs we have in DeLaet, Hutton & Bree I feel one of those maybe used at left back to cover for Taylor considering Amavi is more than likely going to leave! Also Glen Whelen has been brought in as competition for Jedinak as we relied far too much on the Jedi last season! So Whelen signing does not affect the likes of Hourihane, Bjarnason & Lansbury as again they play different positions! What I see is healthy competition for places, which is what any club needs to be successful UTV VTID!
whelan might very well unlock the creativity of lansbury and hourihane
but i dont think anyone is convinced by this
personally i would keep hogan and mccormack,,, and bring in the type of player who can play them in
i do think we will nic a lot of goals from corners, terry and chester should and could reach double figures
next season if hourihanes deliverys are consistant
i just hope grealish and green really perform this coming season,,, if they do they will be the difference
Where will the goals come from to win games? Agbonlahor? We need an exceptional striker, not just a striker to get us promoted. Otherwise, we will hang around the mid-table for yet another year.
I agree totally with Jackson but I am also concerned about our lack of goals we might just get away with it while Kodjia is fit but if he should get injured we’re in big trouble and this makes me wonder if we are promotion contenders, should get shot of Mc Cormack and get another striker in but not one that hasn’t scored a goal all season. Looking forward to a good season but sadly not over optimistic.
I think Elmo has been signed as a winger especially as Bruce has said he wants 2 players for every position & Elmo/Adomahon right Green / Bjarnasonor possibly Amavi if he stays on left will give him that
Good article.However,the transfer policy is making Villa a defensive outfit.We will win games,that is for sure,but the 1-0 or 2-0 wins will be of regular occurence;just like it was in the second half of last season.It may get us promoted at the end of it all,but for the challenge to remain in the Premier League i do not think most of the signings Steve Bruce has made will cut the mustard.
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