The Midlander: So, who should Villa plump for in the January sales
One of the advantages (or, occasionally drawbacks!) of social media is the opportunity for us hacks to interact with the great British public.
Earlier this week, I asked those Villa supporters who follow me on twitter to play “Premier League manager” and come up with suggestions for what Alex McLeish should do during the transfer window, bearing in mind the current restrictions.
Here follows a selection of the responses. What I think it shows is that if you ask 50 supporters for their opinions, you will get 50 different replies!
Anyway, here goes.
In the market: Alex McLeish is looking to strengthen his squad in January
“I would realise the job was too big for me and resign, leaving someone able to train and motivate the players we have.” @antjones82
“need some experience in midfield to give Petrov a hand, kids not up to it IMO, although difficult when (they have) no confidence at all.” @villawayne
“Release Warnock. on big wages an v inconsistent. Clark as replacement release Beye, Cuellar NOT Petrov” @_sam_stone
“We need to recall Gardner from loan @ Cov, get him in the first-team. Need more CBs. Samba” @_sam_stone
“Diame from Wigan would be a great buy if we could convince them to sell.” @avfcgoodie
“Sell: Collins, Ireland, Delfouneso, Beye, Petrov, Delph. Buy: 3 midfielders who are big, strong and will work hard.” @Richard Yallop
“Nathaniel Clyne in, Hutton out.” @avsomerville
“Sell Heskey for anything, Ireland 4m, Cuellar as his contract runs out, Zamora, a midfielder and a winger.” @super_kev1993
“Collins 5m Heskey free, then Frimpong (loan) Junior Hoillet 4-5m. 0 spent.” @lolleyj10
“Sell Ireland, Delfouneso, Hutton try to bring Makoun back and invest in Bridcott from Brighton to shore up CM” @davidcroker
“Sell Heskey = extra man on pitch; in fact, give him away.” @johnutv
Heading out the door Emile Heskey (left) has come under fire from Villa fans
“Out – Ireland, Beye Fonz (Delfouneso) Heskey, Warnock In – Dempsey, Brunt, and maybe Jordan Rhodes.” @dalyvilla
“Sell Ireland, Collins, Delph, Beye, Bent Buy Huddlestone, Kranjcar, Billy Sharp, Diame, Guttierrez.” @AlfieTScott
“Out – Beye, Heskey, Warnock, Ireland. In – B Sharp, McEachran (loan) Lambert, McGeady.” @AlBlanch
“I”d sell Bent if we”re not going to play to his strengths. That would bring in 20m. Pav(lyuchenko) in, Onouha to replace Hutton.” @Hereford_Villan
“Sell Beye, Collins, Ireland. Buy Mateo Kavacic, Diame and Rhodes.” @Nik986
“Out Ireland, Collins, Beye, Delfouneso, Delph. Buy Onouha, Rhodes, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Frimpong. (loan)” @SportDW
“Sell Collins, Cuellar, Ireland and Heskey. Buy Diame, Clyne, Hoillet and Samba.” @Hadley83
“2 words mate NO WAY can Villa sell DB unless we are intent on Championship football.” @RogerW34
“Peter Whittingham back great left foot scores goals and can play anywhere on the left for us not silly money.” @JohnBlewitt2
“Change Collins/Clark now. Sell Collins & Ireland buy Diame for athleticism, recall Makoun and maybe Ridgewell.” @garethedwards74
Impressive: Mohamed Diame has starred for Wigan this season
As you can seen from that selection of varied responses the problems are vexed.
To my mind, I agree with McLeish who sees his central midfield areas as being of prime concern.
Personally, I like Mohamed Diame at Wigan. I watched him play against Wolves a few weeks ago and was impressed by the way he got around the pitch. His pass selection was also good.
Robert Snodgrass at Leeds shows me something different every time I see him and has the ability to score goals at Championship level. I”d need to do some more homework before recommending him. But I like what I see.
McLeish says he needs more “legs” in his engine room. Diame would at least give him that.
To finance part of that deal, I”d sell James Collins. Not because I don”t think he isn”t capable on his day of doing a very good job, but simply because there are those out there who need a centre-half. Sunderland and Newcastle to name but two.
However, if Collins did go, I would make handing Carlos Cuellar a new contract a priority. Really Yes. He can”t pass, but he”s in the side to defend and Villa look a much safer prospect with him at centre-half. Plus, how much would it cost to find an improved replacement
Should he stay or should he go James Collins (left)
If Villa”s boss did choose to sell Darren Bent, the options open up a bit more for him.
If, for example, Bent and Collins were sacrificed for 25-27m – you”d want your money back for England”s striker, surely – then Villa”s boss gets a bit more leeway.
But as the only top six club you could see either affording or needing Bent are Liverpool and as I”m not sure McLeish is keen to sell, it”s a bit of a non-starter.
Otherwise, Villa”s boss is looking at reducing his wage bill. The availability of Stephen Ireland would free up a chunk of money and may interest clubs at the bottom off the Barclays Premier League. With Emile Heskey”s contract due to expire, someone might take a punt on him.
And it”s probably about time Nathan Delfouneso played regular first-team football to see whether he is up to the standard Villa require. I would circulate his name as available for loan. Andreas Weimann, too, should be sent out but with 24-hour recall. Potential has to be realised at some point.
My solution would be: “Sell Collins, sign up Cuellar, loan Delfouneso, Ireland, Weimann, loan/sell Heskey. Buy Diame, plus poss AN other dep on funds.”
Not the most exciting answer but possibly realistic. I don”t think you would be able to loan all of the above. But even if Heskey left, you would be saving in the region of 60,000-a-week.
Bright spark: Marc Albrighton has been a plus point for Villa this season
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I”m still thinking about who wins the award bottle of Moxley Vino that was promised on twitter.
I guarantee the winner will be announced next week!
Gould-en opportunity for Sky Blues
As the saga with Coventry City rumbles on, I was interested to hear about Bobby Gould”s offer to replace Ken Dulieu as director of football operations.
Gould may be many things but he carries a love for the club, having supported, played for and managed it.
He also retains a keen interest in the game because of his punditry. He does get out and about.
He has more than a few contacts who Andy Thorn may not be able to cajole into lending him players.
Moreover, he”s offering to do the job for nothing!
As offers of genuine help haven”t been flooding into Coventry City recently, I don”t see why Gould couldn”t be of use to them.
Let”s face it, in the short-term, it can”t get any worse…
Finally, thanks for reading my musings. Happy Christmas!