How strong is the resolve of Wes Eden and Nassef Sawiris? How deep is the loyalty of the top Aston Villa players? The are two questions that have crept into my mind the last few weeks.

As much as I take football news from England with a grain of salt, and a wonderment at the amount of non-news they can turn into a column, concern has crept into my thinking. It all started with a few comments on Douglas Luiz and Manchester City’s possible buy back. Then possibly John Terry moving on. A bit of dampness appeared on my brow only to grow into a definite worry when I read about City’s desire to acquire Grealish. Coupled with the fact that Ross Barkley is on loan I’ve become quite fidgety. No doubt Mings, McGinn, and Targett, et al, are on someone’s radar now and it’s only a matter of time before the Birmingham Mail spins it into a full-blown meltdown for Villa fans to fret over.

And just to add to the stew pot, Dean Smith is making a name for himself too. To be sure he will be offered a substantial contract to run a team in London.

How would you deal with this potential problem? There are ways, but none without some level of concern. Giving a player a long-term contract is nice for the player but it doesn’t stop any other team from making that offer that is too good to be true—both to the team and to the player. And honestly, Aston Villa play that game as well. That long-term contract could also come back and bite the owners. Paul Pogba comes to mind. Mesut Ozil, too. (There is another story there.) How many players have gone on to bigger pay cheques and be total flops? Charles N’Zogbia, for example. It’s quite a minefield.

Obviously unlimited funds helps: Chelsea, for example. A good eye for talent at a reasonable cost. Brentford—which has enhanced Villa. Villa, for me, are on the right track with player development within an enhanced training program. Plenty of home grown sprinkled with youth from around the continent.

Regardless, one has to prepare for the possibility of losing players. There is one way, I think, to keep them, is to be in the top six. Anything less and you run the risk of losing players except of course Manchester United who have over compensated players to the point where no one wants them at that evaluation. Another is to have a top managerial staff with top assistants, medical, and training facilities. This is the path Villa is taking.

With talk of Villa being the surprise package this year, could be the one that returns the team to its rightful place. But there are plenty of pitfalls along the way this season. Keeping the players healthy, keeping their heads on straight, and keeping the faith. Will they be able to keep the players vested if they don’t achieve what’s predicted?

I hope so.

Losing players is an inevitability. The job Wes and Nassef have is not to lose them all at once. There is another cloud on the horizon and it doesn’t involve Aston Villa. But it does in a roundabout way, and brings a little déjà vu for those who remember Dr. Tony. The owners of West Brom have decided to pull up sticks and not invest in the club anymore. A poor start didn’t help. Loaning out Ahmed Hegazi showed the league they’ve given up. West Brom, Wolves, Birmingham, and Villa all represent Midlands football and its attractiveness. Losing a team affects all of them, not just the one that’s struggling at the moment. The league needs to vet prospective owners with more vigor.

Finally, will covid end up pulling the rug out on the season?

Comments 19

  1. Hi Ian, Thanks mate, Yep getting better has risks I hope Dean Smiths penchant for looking for good characters bears fruit and they all don’t pack their bags. From what I have seen form other fans they are still thinking that they can get Jack cheaply and he will sit on their bench. I think he’s here for at least another one two seasons dependant on progress. That progress as you have pointed out will partly come form the youth system Hopefully. The rest will inevitably come from some players player sales just hopefully the ones we want to lose or have already identified and lined up and upgrade. As all teams find out buying a player doesn’t get you the team, system and manager that he was successful under no matter the price.

  2. Robbo- (from last post) Covid 19 is as close to Sarrs covid as you and I are in DNA, very similar, hence the immune crossover some display. So having tried to make a Vaccine for 18 years you’d think they know a lot about it if not how to make a vaccine for it, thats why I am dubious along with a lot of immunologists. A customer of mine that works for GSK said there is no telling what might happen ten years on.

    The government have put a tender out for an AI program to deal with the probable damage to people, it won’t be ready before the vaccine though.

  3. Nice write up. I agree with this writer that the owners should not allow a firesale. Maybe one player to leave per window. The bigger sides sooner or later will bid big time. Luiz for me is the glue that keeps Villa ticking. And i really hope Man City do not come for him in January. Targett has really impressed me this term. He has stepped up alongside Trezeguet. I strongly believe we will finish in the top half. UTV.

  4. JackVilla- Trez is third in the prem for shots in the box over the last 4 games with 8, with a bit more luck he’ll be putting them away and Frem will have to say sorry.

  5. On a different subject while its quiet, I was listening to Dean Smith doing his presser and he was asked about heading the ball and Dementia. He quite rightly pointed out that he hadn’t seen anything that was any more than a correlation.

    I also listened to a podcast today that mentioned that its looking increasingly likely that coronary heart disease is linked to Diabetes, heart attacks may even be undiagnosed Diabetes. Dementia , Alzheimers etc are also linked to Diabetes. While I am sure its not great to head a ball a lot you don’t have to head a single one to get Dementia. I hope they don’t stop players heading the ball next for what really likely is a dietary issue.

  6. Plenty of questions there Ian. Answers on a postcard. If our boys keep progressing, we won’t be worried about Man Ure coming knocking. It’ll more likely be Real or Barca or PSG giving us the shakes.

    But in the bigger picture, Brady at West ‘Aaamm is whining about some of the opposition clubs are owned by Gov’ts making it damn difficult for the dildo brothers to compete. Similarly the Chinese guys at Wolves and the yam yams find their pockets emptying in the current situation. Wolves have needed to sell a few players. But Nassef can trump these guys for wealth as can Wes for knowing how to run a vibrant sports club.

    So Wolves will need to mind the gap. As for the yam yams, they’ll have to suffer this season like we did last. Their fight will be against the other 5 sides around them.

  7. Not sure what to expect from the team against Brighton. Under normal circumstances it would be a tough game, but with so many of our boys trickling back in from a heavy international schedule, we could be knackered. I’m most concerned about SJM and Dougie. Hope they are up to putting in one more shift this week.

  8. interesting thoughts Ian
    I hope and also feel that it wont be too long before other clubs have to start worrying about losing there stars to villa rather than the other way around

    In Eden and Sawiris we have wonderful owners who are not here to play secound fiddle to the likes of citeh and there track record along with everything they have done for this club so far is already nothing short of amazing

    I do think we wll lose Dougie Luis as citeh have the buy back clause and his stats this season is blowing every other player in his position out of the water .. there was talk of him jack sjm and mings signing new contracts at the beginning of the season and they have all signed except doug sadly

  9. Ian
    Good write up ,have to agree with runnings other teams will be more scared of losing players to us,plus who can afford jack ,big spanish sides in serious debt ,which english club is going to break 100m barrier to get him

  10. James, I don’t think 100m will be the cash cost for any player in the near future due to Covid. But what I can see are players being traded. Not man for man but a combination of cash, player, player compensation, and length of player contract all playing into the equation. Just about every team in the top ten in all the leagues in England and Europe have at least one or two players who are practically unobtainable due to player evaluation but add a trade in as well then transactions can be done. It’s common practice in the different sport leagues here in NA.

  11. Ian- interesting that you see COVID as a big factor moving forward. All corona viruses follow a similar pattern, a big hit when they are new then once exposure is gained they become much less dangerous and are seasonal. Of course trying not to get exposed doesn’t help and drags the process of herd immunity out. Viruses are also known to take a bake seat when a new virulent strain turns up, at present its flu season here and all other flu’s are non existent but the deaths are what you’d expect for the season. If we continue to allow it to effect our lives then yes I’d agree but it will be an artificial construct not the reality that drives how we deal with it.

  12. Just listened to Tommy on a fan podcast, he said during RDM time Tony asked him in front of the whole team what his old bosses would of done differently to RDM ? 🙂 how to make friends and influence people, he also said Jack could end up at DM like Pirlo, something I voiced two seasons ago, catch up Tommy.

  13. One thing Covid could effect in a round about way is when the economy crashes and we are all redundant players wages and prices might drop, the great reset premier league style 🙂

  14. Hey Ian,so working from home has it’s advantages, I don’t have to watch Highway Through Hell every lunch time lol. Well as the show is from your neck of the woods I have to ask, Davis or Quiring.
    Very good article Ian, seeing all the games on DAZN we certainly are looking like the 81/82 team.
    I was keeping an eye on Montreal in the MLS, and I think we dodged a bullet with Henry, seems out of his depth even at this level. I’m starting to think a little like you and wondering when we get poached, memory’s of Yorke, Milner and Barry come flooding back. There is a British Import Store not far from me, and my wife says they have a mask with Mrs Brown saying Fek Covid so I will have to pop down and get one this weekend!!!

  15. Highway Thru Hell—lol
    I travel both the Coquihalla and the Trans Canada several times a year. The Trans Canada is a twisty route and the Coq is a route where everyone does 150. Both are scenic. I’d pick Quiring over Davis. Both strike me as quite authentic. The commentator is a bit much.
    DAZN is great.
    I spend much more time watching the Whitecaps implode than the Impact. Some fine footballers have gone through Vancouver and I try to catch them when they do. My favourite—Ibrahimovic.

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