So Jack is gone from Villa Park and our hearts. However much we thought he might’ve been different, in the end Villans got another dose of Super League footballing reality. But that’s not going to be the case much longer. Compass still have their eyes on the prize, and if it just got a little bit harder, it won’t change that ambition.

Before Jack had even completed his medical, Villa pounced, signed, and announced Danny Ings. Not a bad way to reassure the support and ease the pain. The project and intent remains. The club are bigger than any player. Compass mean business. And in the end, Grealish was just another bit of unavoidable business.

Leon Bailey was also officially announced the same day. Everyone’s justifiably excited about his arrival, though it will be a different league and an adjustment for him. That said, overnight Villa suddenly look pretty dangerous up front, and actually have options. Lots of talk about a more balanced side, and I can’t disagree.

Perhaps the biggest question raised by Ings’ arrival (besides age and injury history, though let’s remember Kane is 28) is what Smith will do with Ollie. I’m pretty sure they’ll have talked already. The most obvious move is to play Watkins wide left, and there’s no reason that won’t work. He has the speed, work-rate and tenacity to hold down the wide role, and has done it before.

Villa’s front three/four are intended to be very fluid anyway. And at 29, it could well be the case that Villa intend not to overuse Ings. But you don’t drop a purported £25m-£30m on a backup or super sub, and I don’t think Smith intends to drop Ollie to the bench. Smith will be keenly aware of not bruising his ego, and he’s only just begun. His upside is immense. Ings is a “win now” kind of acquisition, and Villa needed another striker.

While not quite like-for-like, they do both work very hard off the front. We all know how clinical Ings is, and given his conversion rate and goal return, we’ll want him on the pitch a fair amount. But, again, these sorts of things will have been discussed: Ings’ role and ambitions, as well as Ollie’s.

Bailey, for his part, surely won’t start against Watford, no idea when he’ll even show up at Bodymoor, so as we’ve seen in the past, we can probably expect him to be eased in over the first few games with Traoré continuing to start.

Buendia? Pretty sure he’ll be starting from day one. But we may still see Ollie up top with Ghazi wide left in the opener for the sake of familiarity. Ashley Young may also have a part to play out left.

Villa seem to still be in the market for at least one or two more players. Axel Tuanzebe on loan makes a lot of sense for cover and options, so I wouldn’t be at all surprised for that to happen. As mentioned, Smith will now have the flexibility to use a number of different formations should he choose. A 4-4-2 with Ollie and Ings is a lot more dangerous than one with Ollie and Davis, or Ollie and Wes. A 3-5-2, could see that, as well, should circumstances warrant.

In the end, the consensus is that we’re still talking about another central midfielder. We’ve got a lot, yes, and Buendia can hold down the CAM role. McGinn, Luiz, Nakamba, Sanson, Ramsey, Chuk waiting in the wings. That’s six already for two spots, basically. We’ve no idea what we’ve got with Sanson, and Chuk clearly is unproven, but if he’s brought along the right way, well…

Cantwell and JWP continue to be the popular links, and, being able to fill a number of holes already with the Grealish money, well, either of these, or someone completely off the radar, are possible. But they will cost a pretty penny. Familiar with the environment and rigors? Yes. Value for money at £30m-£50m? Questionable.

Regardless, I’d like to think that if CM/DM was identified as a position of need, Lange & Co will still be active here.

Also want to give Villa a shout-out for getting several of the youngsters out on good loans. Exactly the right time, and having them toughened up and playing league football will only do them good.

It will all take a little time to gel, and Smith will have his hands full. But, Villa have responded very well to this situation, and I’m optimistic it isn’t going to set us too far back.

Over to you.

Comments 69

  1. Sorry, one last pop , then I’m done’

    ‘Some of them knew pleasure
    And some of them knew pain
    And for some of them it was only the moment that mattered
    And on the brave and crazy wings of youth
    They went flying around in the rain
    And their feathers, once so fine, grew torn and tattered
    And in the end they traded their tired wings
    For the resignation that living brings
    And exchanged love’s bright and fragile glow
    For the glitter and the rouge
    And in a moment they were swept before the deluge”

  2. Nice one Prox. Referring back to the last knockings of the previous thread. Guardiola carries this image of greatness in coaching. Well, he screwed up the latest Champions League final. And his spending in the few years at Citeh is almost £1 Billion. Fuck, let me spend that kind of money and I’ll win the EPL and Champions League.

    He also did similar things at Barca who are now bankrupt. I think his aura might preceed him and he could be following closely in Mourinho’s footsteps, i.e. living on reputation. All he wants to do is buy everybody’s best players.

  3. Yeah, Pep definitely bottled the CL final.

    I like the way his teams play, but again, you have your pick of those kinds of players, it’s a lot easier to accomplish.

  4. Pep is not unbeatable and yes he gets top players, that’s because top clubs trust him to win things with said players and he does. Plenty have spent big and won bugger all so I can’t rag on him for being the best at this point. If he cocks up then its generally his own doing. Cup finals and cups in general are one offs.

  5. I forgot about berge at Sheffield. Go and get him I beg. A true cdm is of most importance. Ndidi, Fernandinho, Fabinho, busquest. Just that one guy who can sit had protect will be pretty much our final cog. It’s huge. Watch how much better mcguinn, luiz would be as true 8s knowing someone is sat back there.

  6. Listened to a podcast with a brum Mail reporter. Was done just before Ings signing. Said we wanted a striker but won’t be to put Watkins out wide. Would be back up. Seemed to know we was going to sign Ings but couldn’t say at time. Can’t see Ings coming to play second fiddle!!!

  7. Dean Smiths interview revealed his thoughts on the Covid situation in Jan. He thinks it defo scuppered our season, how much effected the players fitness he can’t say as he says its a new disease with little info about the long term. That should be cause for celebration at least because hopefully we will see a team at least at top fitness. And Jack really did not have that much of an effect on the pitch once back and we beat Spuds and Chelski.

    He’s optimistic we will be a more well rounded side and I think that’s about right, whether we can hit the heights of the 7-2 battering of Liverpool without our talisman Trez is another thing.

  8. Can’t believe that Sevilla games off, thanks Boris for making the UK look like Covid fucking Island when something like 92% of us have had Covid or the Jab, fuckwits the lot of them.

  9. Prox yes mate it all looks a little two faced doesn’t it.

    I will say this. For years Jack has sent video’s and messages to young fans within minutes of asking, usually they are ill etc so he is not all bad. Social media can make or break you and he’s of the generation that know that scene very well. How much was the Ill thought out and how much was the club is up for grabs. I just think the Injuries have made it plain to him how short his career may be.

    The biggest damage is that he clearly does not believe we will crack top 4 any time soon.

  10. So we are playing an Italian team Sunday at 2pm with no crowd.

    From the last post, Its baileys reds that concern me more than few Yellows they are inevitable. McGinn however gets loads and plays in midfield Bailey is a striker.

  11. Pep on why he wanted Jack.

    “But especially when I saw him on TV. I said, ‘that guy controls the tempo’.

    “I love when he has the ball. He stops before the dribble and all the opponents stop as well. He controls the tempo and rhythm when he accelerates and decelerates the action.

    “Then especially when I played against him – the physicality, the special mentality of how he fought against the opponents, against our players, he said, ‘I’m here’.

  12. Mark , I’m not saying Jack is any way ‘bad’ but his sycophancy towards Man City is stomach churning particularly when it’s disrespectful to his own former team mates.

  13. Prox, I have one for you.

    The boy stood on the burning deck
    Picking his nose like mad
    Rolled them up in little balls
    And flicked them at his dad

    Jack is a person who I admire. His time spent with fans and his generosity to them is there for all to see. That part of football is also put together by the club. They are looking for as much good will as they can get. But I think it’s genuine from Jack. Hourihane too for another. And like Mark said, life, let alone career is damn short. He made his move because of that. His chances of being top dog are greater at MC than Villa even if Villa make the top four. Perhaps his shin is one Ben Mee away from obscurity. Look at Trez, he’s hardly mentioned anymore. Not the best example but an example.
    I’m sure Jack agonized some. He made his mind up a year ago, perhaps in hope of Villa being in Europe competition. He certainly played like he wanted that until his injury. He’s not Gandi or Mother Theresa or Jesus for that matter, he’s looking after himself and his close circle. It’s the way the game is run now and it really caught on fire when Mansoor bought a mediocre team in Manchester. There are cracks showing, especially in Spain and Italy and perhaps the collapse of a team or two will start the beginning of change. It’s happened in some of the leagues here. It’s definitely possible it’ll happen in Europe as well. Until then anything goes and every back room is playing that game to their best ability.

    On an other note, the forest fires here are bad. They are putting cities on evacuation alert now. It’s a bit frightening. Jack’s not such a big deal right now.

  14. Prox I will take your word I haven’t bothered following what he’s said.

    Ian – Mary had a little lamb
    she couldn’t stop it grunting
    she tied it to a five bar gate
    and kicked….. back and relaxed.

  15. The Ings conundrum, does Watkins play wide and Ings central, the Answer may surprise us because at Southampton he operated with Che Adams up top and dropped off while Adams made the runs in behind like Watkins does. Ings it turns out plays more as a ten. So it is more than likely the new front four will be. It will also very likely be interchangeable and fluid and very hard to predict.

    Bailey Ings Beundia

  16. All Villa fans enjoying the Leicester win in the Charity Shield, and Marc Albrighton getting a medal instead of Jack.
    It means that football is still very much alive, and teams from the Midlands can win trophies!

    On now to tomorrow’s friendly and a new season.

  17. The whole of the footballing world will be delighted that Leicester won today. Ok so City were missing some players but everyone will applaud when any of the greedy six slip up.

    I couldn’t help smiling when Roy Keane, in front of Ian Wright suggested (quite rightly) that Maddison going to Arsenal would be a step down.

    Barcelona have been operating under a laughably broken business model and at last it seems that it’s being found out.

    It’s probably too much to hope for, but I’d just love it if these were signs that there’s still life in football for fans rather than just for the money men.

  18. PP. absolutely. . . . lovely to see the medal go to a player who wanted to stay at Villa rather than to one who has been trying to leave for at least the last two seasons to chase money and plastic medals.

  19. Barca have had to let Messi go or suffer 50 years of pain according to Laporte. Here, Citeh are still under FFP investigation by the EPL. UEFA also considered charges against Citeh but were “time-barred” under their own rules. Once breaches go beyond 5 years, UEFA can do nothing.

    The EPL does not have a time bar clause in its regs which all clubs sign up to, although the UK Limitations Act puts a 6 year time bar on commercial breaches so is applicable to Citeh.

    The EPL are still investigating Citeh, and both parties recently lost their attempt to keep the investigation secret in the Court of Appeal. In theory therefore, everyone should be able to see Citeh’s attempts to stall the process until it becomes time barred.

    Der Spiegel in Germany first reported the existence of Citeh emails, which it claims, shows evidence of FFP breaches on their behalf. So the question is….have the EPL got the balls to take action? They did no more than slap the greedy 6 with a feather when their treachery became public. Football really does need to clean up its own stench.

  20. Villa 2-1 up Ings and Elghazi from the spot after going 1-0 down against the run of play. We are set up as 442 Ings and ollie up top with Ings dropping off and linking play. Bidace got the assist for Ings goal.

  21. Ollie went off with a knock and young got a third, not bad but a long way off ready I would say. No Bailly and Beundia either, Hourihane would be worth keeping imo.

  22. OK men. The Hornets are 5 days away. They got beat 3-1 by Crystal Palace at the weekend and Deeney is mouthing off about the new guys needing to get up to speed.

    Most pundits have Munoz down as the first manager for the sack. Beating Spud to that honour would be some feat.

    I don’t think we’ve had a great pre-season for various reasons but I’m expecting 3 points on Saturday. COYVB.

  23. i wont be positive until a number 6 is in. for me its the diffrenece in us finishing top 10 or around bottom 6.

    And a lw/cam but a number 6 is just critical.

    Please dont leave ourselves short

  24. Hello all, been a crazy few weeks hasn’t it. Hard to see Jack in the City shirt though I knew it was coming. I want him to do well but cannot believe that City get away with this time and time again. I dont expect anything to happen from the EPL investigation, money talks. Hopefully they win nothing this year. Villa needs a good start or we get immediately labelled as a one man team.

    Will Axel play in a back 3, some articles talking about it. Good that he chose the fairly positive atmosphere of Villa park than St James. You can sense the desperation of the Newcastle fans, Bruce isnt winning them over anytime soon.

    I hope Chukwuemeka gets to play with the first team rather than being sent on loan. He can be the next manin player and we need to nurture that.

    Onwards we go, bring on Watford.

  25. Line-up v. Watford?

    konsa tuanzebe mings
    cash bailey mcginn buendia young
    ings watkins

    el ghazi

  26. Well, it has been an odd preseason, that’s for sure. The Grealish saga definitely threw a spanner in the works, but they’re getting it sorted and doing Plan B.

    As I’ve mentioned, spending far too much time on Twitter, both Villa and non. Amazing how many people are spouting off and adding no insight.

    But, I am seeing a very wide range of opinion, and the transfer talk is very fast there. Which is what makes Frem crazy, “this player, that player.”

    The conversations here are much more informative and considered, imo.

  27. Anyway, seems like we will be getting at least one or two more players, and definitely looking to strengthen central midfield now, a progressive #6, etc.

  28. Couple of thoughts

    One is Tuenzebe came here presumably as he was told he would get game time or why bother? Clearly was more impressed with Smith than Brucie. Could mean we go three at the back sometimes or he may get a run at DM as Prox touted Konsa for?

    Second one is clearly the owners and Purslow etc think very highly of Dean Smith. Thats £350 mill and climbing spent.

    I think that the side we had out against the Ities is pretty much it, if Ollie is out then its either Chuck or Ramsey you would think. Can’t see, Beundia or bailly starting.

  29. A plague on the suits at the EPL. We’ve been handed Mike Dean as ref for Saturday. The only guy who is a worse choice for us is Kevin Fraud.

  30. Citeh and PSG are the pariahs of football. With owners whose wealth happened by the grace of God via massive oil reserves beneath their feet and who should be spending it on achieving the greater good of the planet have instead just used it to buy their toys.

    Messi is getting 25 million euros for signing on. Tough work on his wrist for 2 seconds whilst he shifts the pen. Everything that’s broken in football is right there for all to see. Both clubs should be kicked out of European competition for 5 years.

  31. Trez on his bike!! You had me excited for a few seconds there Mark. Clearly we have only replaced Jack so far with the 3 new guys. That clearly still leaves the hole left by Trez to be addressed eh?

  32. Good to see that Kesler and Louie Barry at Swindon and Ipswich seem to have impressed on their debuts. If their loans go well it will be a huge boost for them. Presumably Chukwuemeka and Philogene Bidace are judged to be ahead of those two and therefore retained within the squad? It must be a really fine balance to decide between loan and squad place and its easy to see arguments for both, but it would be interesting to know what criteria are used

  33. So Barca couldn’t afford to pay Messi’s extortionate salary due to FFP but PSG could. This puts FFP under the microscope and makes PSG stink.

    Nasser Al Khelaifi, the Qatari owner of PSG is also a member of the European Club Association. In addition, he’s on the Executive Committee of UEFA. He’s also group chairman of beIN MEDIA GROUP and a board member of Qatar’s Sovereign Wealth Fund. There’s enough conflict of interest here to fill a skip. But it is how you land Messi and avoid FFP regulations. They are all cockroaches.

  34. PSG President says world will be shocked by revenues from Messi’s appointment.

    Are we expected to believe the Qatar Sovereign Wealth Fund is going to buy 8 million Messi shirts?

  35. Great to see “Uncle Albert” Adomah score the winning penalty for his boyhood club, Queens Park Rangers!

    Time now for the first cup draw of thee season for Aston Villa.

  36. Anyone excited, but slightly nervous for our first game?

    It’s not been an ideal couple of weeks with a few late comings and a notable ‘going’ too. It’ll be fascinating to see how we set up but it’s hard to imagine that it will all click straightaway. I imagine it’s going to take at least half a dozen games before our favoured starting line up emerges and hopefully, we now also have the more varied resources to be able to adapt how we play during a game too.

    Watford are bound to be up for it and playing their hearts out and Troy Deeney will be. . . . . .Troy Deeney!

    On paper of course we should win it, but early season fixtures always throw up a few surprises and let’s hope we’re not one of them. I always feel that it’s better to play some of the top sides early on for exactly that reason. At the start of the season there’s every chance of catching them a bit cold, and over-confident whereas the underdogs always seem to come out of the traps fast

  37. In other news, Europe records its highest ever temperature at 48.8 degrees. I used to live in Melbourne and I remember when it hit 42 once and it felt searingly hot. In Dubai it gets hotter of course and people go there on holiday but it’s tough to live any sort of normal life outside of the air-conditioned malls and hotels.
    It’s not predicted to reach those temperatures here, but the movements of refugees, economic or otherwise, that we’ve seen to date is nothing compared to what is around the corner when more and more places become practically uninhabitable.

  38. roBbO, As long as our performance on Saturday reaches 48.8 degrees, I’ll be delighted. Nothing like seeing Deeney spitting feathers and chucking his toys out of the pram.

    But I don’t know what formation set up Deano is going to deploy and therefore, I’m sure Munoz doesn’t know either. With the stage our rebuild has reached, it should be 3 points. I’m expecting no less. If we don’t get them, I can see Deano coming under some early pressure.

  39. R0bb0
    We had 48 degrees in June and a week over 40. We are now in our third heatwave of the summer. A small town west of here set a world record above the 45 parallel of 49.9. That town burned to the ground a day later. Last week a village close to home burned to the ground. Over 600,000 hectares of forest has burned so far the sun is a dull red due to the smoke which has blanketed us for almost 6 weeks. And the skeptics say this is normal.

    Yes, I’m looking forward to watford. Hoping to see some of the new players…I hope El Gazi stays.

  40. Yeah, getting nervous and excited, too. With so many distractions, it’s really kind of crept up on us.

    I’ll get a preview piece up at some point today. I’ve been preoccupied with who we’re signing next.

  41. Ian – What is normal? You’ve had massive fires of over 2,000,000 hectares to 8,400,000 in Canada recorded since 1850. 12,000,000 years ago it was coevred in Ice, the ice melted and the sea rose 400m, in 1540 the rivers in Europe ran dry, Greece held the heat record in 1977 of 48 and also had massive fires, their biggest fire was during the dustbowl 90 years ago. So whats normal?

    Robbo- African population is rising rapidly nothing to do with global warming, they are out growing their ability to feed themselves and find enough water.

    If its CO2 we are fucked because India and China not known for their stupidity are building coal stations by the dozen, Africa will likely do the same.

    One thing Covid has taught me is propaganda is used extensively today and people fall for it.

    In other news Richard Kelly has left

  42. Erm ok wtf is going on. Kelley left 2 days before season starts. Alarm bells.

    Lange going in a new direction? Deano being isolated? Need 2 wins off the bounce here.

    And a 6 and lw in then we’re ready

  43. Heroes, the official site is big on O’Kelly praising all and sundry for the wonderful way everything at the club is run. It’s silent on the reason why he left. Something is definitely going on. Terry, Jack, O’Kelly all recent departures.

  44. H&V,

    Wouldn’t panic, or make too many early season demands.

    No idea what O’Kelly means…could be anything from a health condition to…? Don’t think Smith’s the sort to have someone tell him to get rid of trusted sidekick.

  45. Mark, there are dramatic scenes of forest fires in Turkey and Greece the likes of which they have never seen before, California is experiencing twice as many fires as the and it is easy to be carried away and even frightened by these dramatic events.

    In 1982 I was made unwelcome in our Friends of the Earth Group because I was pro Nuclear power as it seemed to me that our most serious challenge was going to be the greenhouse effect (as it was called back then) and a nuclear accident or so was much the lesser evil.
    Over the following 40 years I have looked for signs of climate change and seen them occurring with increasing regularity and strength. Recently I have started looking for signs that maybe it isn’t as bad as we fear. . . . . .not because I believe this, but for reassurance, because the alternative, particularly for our children is so dire.

    This week it’s been reassuring to discover that despite events in Turkey, Greece and California, the number of wildfires in the Amazon, one of the biggest contributors to carbon emissions from wildfires is actually down on last year. Seeing that made me feel slightly better when I read it.

    I am however welcoming crumbs of comfort rather than seeing any evidence that the longer term trend remains firmly in one direction.

    This week ‘s UN ‘code red’ report on climate change is unusual in its forthright linking of climate change to man made changes in the earth’s atmosphere. It draws on the work of some of the world’s most eminent climate scientists.

    I’m curious to know which elements you do not agree with.

    Do you believe:

    The climate is warming fast?
    Atmospheric levels of CO2 and other gases are rising?
    ‘Greenhouse gases’ do behave in a way which will retain heat within the earth’s atmosphere?
    As global temperatures rise we will see various effects including rising sea levels.

    I imagine that you will accept all of these but believe that the temperature rises we are experiencing are down to some other, natural but as yet unexplained other factors?

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