The Villa board did a grand job of shifting a good percentage of Villa’s underachievers in last summer’s transfer window, but it was going to take more than a single window to banish the squad that had let Villa down so badly in the 2015/16 season.
With the odds on Villa getting promoted lengthening, potential Free Super Tips betting tips may help lower the risk of backing Villa, but they will have to get more players in during January to have any chance of making promotion anything more than a dream.
The January window has already seen Rudy Gestede move on to Middlesbrough and return to the Premier League, where he is still yet to make an impression. Given proper service, he could have perhaps done a job for Villa in the Championship, but it was always probably quicker to take £6m off Boro than wait for the next cross from a Villa player to be delivered on his head, to get any investment back.
So who is in the running to leave Villa Park this January?
Bacuna is a like the handy man at Villa Park. With no set role, he’s called in to do the odd-job here and there. Currently he’s been called back into the fold by Steve Bruce to try and create some kind of semblance of a midfield.
Currently there is supposed interest in him from China and Portugal, after earlier reported interest from Trabzonspor. Although none of this is firm to say the least.
You’d have expected Bacuna to have gone last summer, but when you think about it, could he really get a better situation than being at the Villa? It would be a case of ‘surprised, not surprised’ if he stayed or went.
Richards is very much the forgotten man at Villa Park. Bruce was initially keen to rehabilitate him when he took over and picked him for his first match in charge, but injury got the better of him. He’s been injured ever since.
The once promising Richards surely must be Championship level, if nothing else? But will Bruce give him a second chance ala Gabby?
Trabzonspor (yes, them again, the journalist go-to club for any rumour story) were reported to be interested in taking Richards in the January window. With question marks over his current fitness though and a sizeable wage, he’s not going to be easy to shift in this window.
If he’s on his way back to fitness, I could see Bruce tempted to use him as his right-back option later on in the season.
If I was Jordan Ayew, before I got on the plane for the ACON, I would have had a word with my agent to see what he could do this transfer window. After Bruce made a fuss about keeping him for the Cardiff City game when he was due to depart for the ACON, not to a) make the first XI and then b) see Gabby come on ahead of him as a sub, must have left a sour taste in Ayew’s mouth.
What kind of message is Bruce sending to him here?
While Tony Xia made a big fuss about keeping Ayew at the start of the season, MOMS has never been sold on the player. Far too selfish and he doesn’t have the sharpest football brain despite his potential talent. If Villa can get back the money they bought him for, they should get rid and move on.
Whether being in Gabon for the next month will hinder any move remains to be seen.
Steve Bruce made a big statement in making Sam Johnstone his first signing considering proximity of age and experience to Gollini. Was the loan a cheap way of checking out a potential purchase and giving Gollini real competition? Is he actually Gollini’s replacement?
Whatever Bruce’s motivation, Gollini won’t be sleeping easy at night. There’s been talk of loans to leading clubs in Italy, but he wouldn’t be a starter at some of the teams mentioned like inter and Juve. No doubt fresh rumours will spring up due to Villa signing Johnstone.
For the record, Gollini is very much a work-in-progress but his reluctance to leave his six-yard box is a concern and commanding his box is something Johnstone is reported to be more comfortable at.
Would Gollini be booted so soon?
It would be harsh and Villa would struggle to recoup what they paid for him. Unless a big Italian club needs an emergency keeper loan, I think Gollini will stick around and tough it out until the summer, at least.
You get the feeling that Villa’s management team are trying to do something with Ashley Westwood. In fact every Villa management team since Paul Lambert has seemingly championed the midfielder. Haven’t they twigged why Villa have been in decline and got relegated?
Villa’s midfield is its weakest point and has been for a while. Westwood certainly can’t carry it or be a focal point of it. His dead ball delivery has been way down on what it should be and the caution in his game has chronically stifled him.
Villa need to move on, as does Westwood. Will he? Unlikely.
There’s been plenty of newspaper inches recently dedicated to talk of the likes of Derby, Fulham and Wolves wanting to take McCormack off Villa’s hands, but they simply can’t afford him at the price Villa would want.
I wouldn’t expect Xia to fancy any cut-price sale on a player that was bought at considerable expense to fire Villa back into the Premier League. McCormack has scored goals for fun in the Championship (although interestingly never for a promoted club), so he doesn’t suddenly turn into a poor player after a few games…although some fans may argue that’s what Villa does to some players!
While MOMS wasn’t exactly pro splashing an inflated price of £10-12m on him, McCormack looks like a player that would thrive with a proper functioning midfield unit behind him and quality alongside him up top.
With the ACON departures, MOMS expects that McCormack will be expected to shine in January, so don’t expect him to go anywhere, especially not on loan to another Championship club. He will need a team around him though.
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