Now that Coutinho has scored in claret and blue and rumors started swirling about Luis Suarez, well, you can’t help but wonder what’s changed at Villa Park and in the boardroom.

First off, it’s true that Gerrard was instrumental in bringing in Coutinho, and who knows how that affected the Digne deal. Seemed Lucas was dead set on getting out, and Villa, looking more promising than Everton at the moment, can’t have been a bad destination. Targett seemed a dead-man walking given Gerrard’s preferred style.

The idea of Suarez, again, that would be purely down to SG’s relationship with him, and yes, Coutinho coming in. I’ve no idea whether there’s any real truth to that, but the primary source is well regarded and apparently close to the player. Then we read Atletico aren’t interested, so.

Anyway, we’ve gotten in one player this window we’d never have expected, another quality signing in Digne, perhaps another big surprise, a CB prospect in Kerr Smith, a solid #2 in Robin Olsen, and it’s anything but a normal January.

Everyone is rightly asking what all this means. There’s SG being backed versus Dean (ie, the Grealish money + what we’d have considered our expected summer spending outside that windfall); NSWE’s short- and long-term ambitions; and Villa’s previous recruitment/development strategy. Sure I’m leaving something out.

As far as SG being backed more than Smith, well, I have to leave all that to speculation. It’s hard to compare because no, Smith would not have been ringing up Phil and getting the band back together. Would Villa have had a strong January, regardless, if Smith had survived? Sliding doors and all that. It certainly wouldn’t have carried the same buzz, but might well have addressed some needs effectively. We’ll never know.

The extent to which these moves are driven by Gerrard, the owners’ trust (Purslow’s too, as well as his need to get the appointment right), the owners’ ambitions and sense of timing, and the squad’s makeup (experience and quality) are hard to separate. But there is some sense the owners are freeing up funds they withheld over the summer.

Maybe these particular deals happen because Gerrard can make them happen, and if Gerrard’s saying that’s what we need, then the owners are signing off. (It seems as though Gerrard is exerting more pull versus Lange than Smith had.)

Maybe Gerrard is saying now’s the time if these are your ambitions. Maybe everyone was thinking, “Hey we weren’t necessarily planning on this, but who can argue when opportunity knocks?”

And it can’t hurt that Villa have been the talk of the window. Moves like Phil’s say something good about the club to the wider world.

But, cautious as I ever am, a short-term buzz can easily turn to disappointment. Big-name players coming in and leaving can still make Villa look like a stepping stone. While we’re gloating now, we could easily be listening to a lot of blowback if Villa don’t really go on a rampage and Phil leaves in the summer. Same could be said of Suarez if that comes off, though the purported deal does sound a bit different.

PR aside, Coutinho is obviously low risk financially. Sort of a no-brainer opportunity. Suarez (or someone else) might be the same, though one has to ask what the dominoes would be with Watkins and Ings (and Archer). Digne, it’s probably hard to argue that he’s not a step up on Targett, especially in the attacking third, and should have enough in his tank to play out his contract.

So, the questions for me are whether Villa are thinking these signings can get us up to that next rung and what’s the timing of that expectation? Of course that’s followed by what happens if these deals don’t get us there? Are there futures for Bailey and Traoré, or will they be used to fund other deals? Will they be happy coming off the bench?

There’s also the question of the academy and youth. A number of these players are in the process of being loaned or evaluated, which means their paths may not be blocked and that that part of the plan stays intact. If they’re not quite ready to step in, they could be come summer. Jaden Philogene-Bidace might fall into this category, and we’ll see about Carney Chukwuemeka and Cameron Archer. Hause seems ready to sign a new contract, Konsa, too. Talk of Targett to Newcastle has popped up, along with the now semi-annual McGinn to United story. The last one, I’m not sure I understand, but there you are. And of course, Anwar El Ghazi has joined Everton on loan, which means we’ve probably seen the last of him.

The other thing I wonder is trying to separate Gerrard’s ambition from the club’s. Ideally they’re intertwined, but no one is expecting Gerrard to finish his managerial career at Villa. He’s maybe here for three–four years. He needs to succeed to step up to Liverpool if, as we all assume, that’s his aim. But maybe he’s the heir-apparent to Klopp, regardless.

Is Gerrard driving short-term change that can’t be sustained? Are we simply buying time for younger players to get ready to step in? Are we setting out a stall that will continue attracting names like these?

Can’t pretend I have the answers. But I clearly have a number of questions. Like what’s happening with a No. 6?

All I can say is that if nothing else, it has made January extremely interesting, and it does have everyone salivating over a second-half charge to Europe. But in 13th, 12 points off 7th with 18 to play, it’d have to be one helluva charge.

Bottom line, for any of this to make sense, Villa either have to produce something in the short term—which means Gerrard is sticking his neck out along with NSWE and Purslow—or it has to be a means to deal with injuries, regain lost momentum, and jump-start a new system.

I’m a bit wary of a massive makeover by one man just to play his way unless he’s here long enough for Villa to make a sustained claim on 4th-7th. At the same time, if we build a very good squad, there isn’t much difference to Gerrard’s 4-3-3 than many of the other permutations another quality manager might favor.

All we can do is hope that it all pushes us on and one way or another leaves Villa in a better place.

Over to you.

Comments 299

  1. JC, a really timely piece although it’s likely that we’ll always be left with more questions than answers. You’re surely right that some things have changed but the timing of them isn’t always so clear. A few of us felt quite early in the season that something wasn’t quite right in the camp and it’s easy now to speculate that the owners had made the decision some time ago to change managers and held back on some support for DS. It also seems that he was dealt certain cards to play when he might have preferred different ones.
    SG is quoted as saying that he wanted to increase the average age of the squad and he’s certainly doing that. As you point out, one of the key questions is whether this is a stopgap measure whilst the promising crop of young players we have, develop enough to take on the responsibilities of week in, week out first team action.
    It still feels slightly strange because we were all assuming that the owners were averse to buying players with little sell on value so what changed?
    It does feel as if they’ve shortened the timescales (or we just weren’t getting there fast enough for them) and maybe it is outside pressures that have caused that.
    The prospect of a European super league must have shaken them and the purchase of Newcastle and the prospect of other mega rich owners appearing from the wings could also be playing on their minds.
    Whatever the reasons behind the change, SG is being strongly backed and you have to assume that he’s been set some ambitious targets to hit with the new investment

  2. It is exciting when you pick up players like Digne and Coutinho. And I do feel sorry for players who get displaced. And the BM and all it’s sister publications are doing a good job of touting every aging superstar out there. It’s hard to keep a level head from the fans stand point.
    It appears that the ghost of Mc Neil is in the hen house. A five year plan is admiral but perhaps a little optimistic. I think the Chinese wonder boy had a ten year plan. I’m hoping the apple cart doesn’t get tipped over and they stick to the original plan. It’s great to send academy players out on loan but will they come back if the desire for “older” players continues.
    It’s great to have ambition but if it starts to smack of Russian and Saudi oil knobs it will take a lot of pride away from what I thought was the game plan of building from within.

  3. Nice one jc.

    My take is to enjoy the ambition. I love us all dearly as fans but if there’s one fan base to be worrying or down over a club trying to Improve its us. We’ve just signed digne and Phil, I can’t stress how superb that is for us as a club 3 rd season back from the champ and in the Jan window. Not worried about the youth, nswe have done a remarkable job recruiting the best and young Rambo has stepped up a different player and is starting and starring every game!

  4. You only have to see toon scrabbling around chucking mental money at anything that moves. Guess who there fanbase is looking very envious at with there early deals. Digne and Phil is what they wanted.
    The plans not changed, purslow said after 2 or 3 years in the prem they can then afford to step up and offer more wages etc. Takes a while to be on proper prem money.

  5. Thanks JC yes more questions than answers, in fact no answers. A £25m FB with little re-sale, A quality goal keeper on loan yikes, not seen that since Bruce, And a Phil lottery card, you have to be in it to win it.

    Not quite oil baron territory just yet he’s spent £25m but Digne’s wage at Everton touted at £132k a week, looks like we have found some change down the back of the couch.

  6. I believe undoubtedly something changed last summer at Compass level. We had resignations of support coaching staff, the departure of Jack and some…..well let’s say unusual buys. I didn’t see the Ings purchase coming at all. So I don’t think any changes are down to Newcastle Utd being bought out by the Saudi Arabian Sovereign Wealth Fund which at the time was still bumbling along in the courts.

    Did Compass take stock of progress at the end of last season and decide that changes were needed to push on to the next level? If so, we know that their ambition is still burning brightly. Deano’s background was Walsall and Brentford. A significant amount of recruitment came from Championship level. Watkins, Konsa, Cash, Jota. Maybe Compass felt that Purslow and Gerrard with their Liverpool backgrounds had the knowledge of what is required to compete at the European level and are therefore pursuing a different route to reach those riches.

    Me? I’m an ordinary fan who supports his team come what may. But since our two new owners arrived, I’ve witnessed Villa move in an exciting direction. When Neville says on Sky Gambling that ManUre need look no further than Aston Villa to see how to run a football club, I’m drooling.

    Fasten your seat belts guys. The good times are coming.

  7. Plug

    I don’t think the remit has changed. Just listen to purslows interview when we went up. Year 3 now and we are moving.

    Could be that re Gerard but a lot of people itk I’ve Been hearing is that off the field under smith things got lax. Let’s say it’s no surprise the running stats, pressures etc fell of the cliff since last Jan leading to our form being awful. The mid day training starts allowing them to stay up later turns out to be a snapshot of why the plug was pulled on Deano. Got to be elite off the field

  8. Plug

    Hell yeah what nswe have done in3 year is insane. We should be all rights be In league 1. We was fucked. You look at Derby who we beat in the play off final it’s like sliding doors moMent. Shef wed too. Lost there final when we was in the champ and there league 1. No doubt would of been us. There for the grace of God! Now we get to worry about signing class players! Could be worse


  9. mark

    didnt deano loan 2 keepers after signing kalinic and nyland?

    reaina on loan short term and who was that croation keeper moralas or summin?

    took us ages to get to martinez…but by god hes worth the wait!

  10. Good write up again John. This paragraph caught my eye the most.

    “Is Gerrard driving short-term change that can’t be sustained? Are we simply buying time for younger players to get ready to step in? Are we setting out a stall that will continue attracting names like these?”

    In my opinion yes, Gerrard’s is here for the short term, and his drive i think is unsustainable. I predicted Villa to finish 13th at the end of the season and i am still standing by that.
    We have to be aware that Gerrard and Purlsow are both lifelong Liverpool fans. I may be wrong but perhaps the latter is aiding the former to take over at Anfield in the near future. He is doing that by boosting his profile here.

  11. As the saying goes, if you are good enough, you are old enough. I am not over hyping our young players. Just that i think the only way we can know they are good enough is by playing them, and giving them sufficient minutes on the pitch.
    Surely part of Gerrard’s remit prior to his appointment is to promote and play more players to the first team. It’s early days but i do not see that happening.

  12. cheers JC

    What’s not to love about Aston villa the owners and the direction really ?
    The 5 year plan for European football is fully on course
    We have one of the best youth set up anywhere atm with a lot of kids with a great chance of making it at the club and a clear pathway to do so ….. equally as important the kids that don’t make it at Villa will still make it in the game
    DS did an amazing job in the first faze but he had a board most managers can only dream of and we broke records in the championship for player purchases
    DS then got us up and we were then one of the highest spenders in world football getting a new squad together and finally freeing the club of the long standing bomb squad .. the owners took a financial hit to do this
    We stayed up but didn’t progress a great deal the following season
    The squad we acquired during DS and the first faze were up and coming players that could either improve to a level the club is looking to get to or be sold for a profit
    SG is in for faze 2 he has raised the profile of the club in the eyes of the media and is able to attract players the are quality and fully developed footballers and I am sure most up and coming young talents out there have massive respect for SG too

    All in all Villa is now in a position that I could have only dreamed of considering what an absolute embarrassing way the club was handled for so many years before hand .. I know longer have to squirm watching the team I support playing football instead I can be proud of every aspect of how this club is being run

  13. Jack, if we come in 13th at the season’s end, I’ll be disappointed. I believe our squad is better than that. Nevertheless, reaching 9th will be a challenge come May.

    Finishing mid table will not be enough for Liverpool to recruit Gerrard should anything happen to Clipperty. SG has great owners here and if he can’t reach Champions League with Villa, I think he’ll be seen as another Lampard by Liverpool. Time will tell.

    Great news about Emi though.

  14. Have to say, I love the overall positivity. Thank you for indulging my niggling doubts. It’s always good to get them out.

    It has been fun, the owners do seem committed…and yeah, I no longer squirm or dread match days. Looking forward to tomorrow and the upcoming run.

    It’s been far too long since we’ve had any sustained excitement and good vibes. From the promotion push through to now, there’ve been ups and downs, but it’s been good a ride.

  15. john

    us villa fans have been through hell! we are a dramatic club.

    watching us get ripped apart under randy. then the dodgy dr! 2 play off finals which are for me the biggest game in footy. nearly going bust!

    i didnt live through all that and not enjoy the good times!

  16. Thank god for our owners,so many false dawns but finally we look,act like the club we are massiv
    Have to thank Dean Smith for his time in charge laid great foundations for us to build on
    What a first 3 weeks of transfer month all we need now is defensive midfielder giant to cap it off only downside is not match for another 2 weeks after tomorrow, but then again time for Bailey to get fit,traore to come back from afcon,digne get up to speed and off course coutinho to work on his fitness,we will need a strong bench to hold them all

  17. JG, I’ve not understood the continued criticism of Mings and have wondered whether some of it is triggered by his outspoken support for various causes rather than his football.
    The stat you quoted was surprising but I’ve now seen it myself and it seems you’re right. Not only that, but apparently our goals conceded with him in the team is 1.5 and without him is 2. Our win ratio with him in the team is 35% and without, just 11%.
    We’ve all seen him make the occasional unforced error and inevitably those stick in the mind but it seems that they are more than outweighed by all the good things he does.

  18. H&V yes mate a brain Fart it was Reina in for Heaton but it was an absolute necessity not to challenge the no1.

    I’m not having the everything is rosy lads, Yes its exciting etc but if this was calculated move surely the summer was the time? as it was Jack Buggered off and that changed the dynamic. That was not in the plans, if this was really faze 2 get SG you’d have done it at the end of a disappointing end to the last season surely? If Dean was the weak link then the club has caused itself some real problems it didn’t need to create. Would SG have turned up in the Summer? going on our plans absolutely.

  19. Did everyone else enjoy seeing the smiles on Dean Smith’s face last night?

    He still has a hell of a task on his hands to save them but when he joined they looked like a totally lost cause and now at least they seem to be in with a chance of survival.

  20. Mark, it sounds as if (a bit like me) you start getting nervous when everyone says everything is great.
    There’s no doubt that we’re in a far far better place then we were just a few seasons ago but there’s still a long way to go and there’ll be a fair share of disappointments along the way.
    Our performances have looked really promising over recent games but we’re now entering a stretch of fixtures where it’s results that matter. We should be expecting to win each of our next 6 games if we really are now operating at a higher level. Of course it’s too much to ask that we win all 6 in a row but if we win at least 4 of them then I do think we can start to believe that things really are on the up.

  21. No Robbo not really concerned just pointing out last summer etc wasn’t planned for that well. Jacks leaving really buggered things up. This is a course correction or a rethink imo.

    Mings makes some gaffs and far from people disliking his crusades I think they may be a distraction for him. His problem is he is straight back in and Hause doesn’t get a run to progress. Personally Mings hasn’t progressed the way Konsa has and it still slow on the ball which causes problems. I think that SG will look for a better class CB if not now then the summer. Mings is a leader in his off field pursuits but not so much on it, yes he’s an influence but not the level we will need, he has a bit of a soft underbelly mentally, very bright lad but.

  22. SG’s arrival was never a good thing for the youth this season he has to access the older players as a priority and has already elected to get even older players in, as to the future yes it will happen but some of them may not stick around.

  23. Oh come on Robbo Mings is well known for lapses, usually very costly ones. Of course others make mistakes but Mings makes a habit of it and is well known for it. He is the bets we have it sems though, Martinez? yeah ok 🙂

  24. We are no doubt a better team with mings there but like mark says your not surprised if a mistake happens. Concentration is key for him to improve.

    Ings benched. Going to give Phil an hour. Interesting who comes on for him, chuck hopefully.

    No concerns re youth, Kessler certainly not moaning right now I bet! Sg calls off his loan and on bench.

  25. Off to the pub to watch the match, and will try and catch up after the game. I missed to write about being on the Holte End for the game against Fernandez, but just to say, that it was a game not to be missed for a Villa fan among the family!!
    I hope that we have not overlooked that Hause has also signed a five year deal, and is very much in SG’s plans.
    Carney could be a big part of the new look Villa!!

  26. Even if I was a betting man i wouldn’t like to call today. Wouldn’t surprise me if we smashed them. Wouldn’t surprise me if they did us.

    Start is key, let’s get a consistent performance.

    Sg pointed out about the start v Utd, you’d expect a reaction.

  27. Mark, yes Mings is well known for lapses. . . . .my question is why he’s ‘well known’ fr them when others get away with it. He has made some real howlers, but in reality they are very few and far between. Sanson made two howlers in the last game which cost us the match and yet they seem unlikely to define him. Martinez has made more in the last half dozen matches than Mings but they won’t (and shouldn’t) define him.
    Defender mistakes are always more obvious than those of attackers but just try thinking of opportunities that our attackers should have made more of. . . . . .it’s no difficult. Do those mistakes define them? no.
    My point is that for some reason Ming’s mistakes seem to be defining him for some supporters much more than for other players.
    The stats suggest that he IS a leader on the pitch and the ‘team’ does much better when he is part of it.
    My comment wasn’t a flippant one. I meant it. If we’re going to castigate and replace Mings for making mistakes then there are others that we should also be looking at. . .yes. . .including Martinez.

    In case there’s any doubt, I think we should be praising and keeping both Mings and Martinez by the way.

  28. You can see the difference in Everton.
    They’ve taken on some of the character of their stand in manager.
    Richardson in particular is being a bit ‘too’ combatative and really needs booking to calm him down

  29. VillaMD. . .I was thinking just the same. Coutinho is being pressed very hard by Everton players as soon as he gets near the ball. I reckon he’d have benefitted from


  30. R0bb0,

    Yeah, strange starting him. Great goal. I’m surprised at how good Buendia is in the air. The lad can jump. Richarlison is such a moaner and dirty player. I bet he’ll get sent off

  31. Robbo- case closed, see Mings throwing a player to the floor and then a lazy pass that goes out for a corner, that is mings, supporting him has nothing at all to do with his foibles.

  32. Well little Beundia is becoming some player at last, looks fit now, never stops running and is always a threat, feisty little bugger too 🙂

    Both sides are giving it out but some of the Everton tackles are near the knuckle. About time a professional foul means a red, fed up with players that are away being pulled back or hacked down.

  33. Mark, yes it was a silly and obvious mistake from Mings. Was that the only mistake you saw from a Villa player that half?
    You’re guilty of ‘looking’ for reasons to criticise Mings but nothing I say will change that.
    If we were going to substitute a player for mistakes made during that half it would be Coutinho.

  34. I don’t care what anyone else did I am talking about Mings and you seem to take Umbridge to that, he can be very slack in his reactions and acts like he has ten minutes on the ball, no I didn’t see any significant mistakes that could of lead to a goal or sending off, Mings ones I could not miss and I am not looking for them lol.

    As I right this he commits a foul

  35. Mark
    I’m not taking umbrage. I just don’t agree with you. I think the difference is that I see the good that Mings brings whilst also seeing that he (along with other players) makes mistakes. At the moment you seem to be just looking for the mistakes

  36. They definitely went long and aerial, and while you’d normally back us to deal with that better, they’re good in the air, lot of height and strength.

    Would like us to have shown a bit more composure, but it was enough, and the second balls, etc., they weren’t playing well enough on the ground to make it count.

  37. Having seen that, you have to believe that Everton will start climbing the table again soon. With players like Richarlison and Calvert Lewin up front and their more combatative nature than under Benitez I wouldn’t be surprised to see them win their next 3.

  38. Yeah, r0bb0…It was a very tricky fixture. Rafa so disliked, all the toxicity, Dunc taking charge at home. I’d not want to have him in my face.

    You’d expect them to be right up around us, 8-12, and not on such a terrible run. Haven’t done the double over them since somewhere in the mid-90s, I think.

  39. Robbo that’s utter rubbish mate all I have done is said he’s not perfect by a long stretch and continually in matches does good things but equally makes poor decisions and seems to relax to much. He’s not a bad player just not at the level of some of the greats we have had, maybe even some of the average ones for me so please don’t try and turn the debate into a good guy bad guy one as there is no point me waxing lyrical about Mings as you have it covered, what would be the point?

    He is always likely to make a mistake in a position that you can’t afford to. I only watch Villa games these days and I don’t see the same from Konsa or opposition CB’s .

  40. We’ll take the annual 3 points from Everton (becoming the norm these days) good Job they can’t head for Toffee, no pun intended. They’ll be some bruises in that dressing room.

  41. MK,

    It was definitely chippy, and they did make it very hard to play after the first 10-15.

    Would like to have seen us create more, settle the game a bit, but credit to them for really getting in our faces, as well.

  42. Mark. . . It wasn’t me who early on in our discussion said “case closed”
    We’ve had plenty of discussions in the past where we’ve been on opposite sides and plenty where we’ve been in agreement. For me, that’s what a forum like this is all about. At least we’re listening to each other even when we don’t agree eh?

  43. JC,yes it was ‘chippy’ and I guess you’d expect little else from a Duncan Ferguson side. A tough game for the referee too and on balance he did pretty well.

  44. I reckon all of us feared new manager bounce for Everton and there’s no doubt they were much more competitive than lately. It wasn’t pretty, but we did really well to come away from that one with a win.

  45. There was defo a change in attitude. Ferguson said he couldn’t have asked for anymore, just lacking that little bit in the final third. Can’t disagree with him.

    Funny, apart from the attempt that Martinez and Mings kept out together, Emi didn’t really have much to do, though. They went close a couple times, obviously, but no quality in the attempts.

  46. Get the fuck in. That’s a big and important 3 points.

    Lots of ways to win matches, we’ve played prettier and lost. That game was what it was, against dunc and a excited goodison. Sg got his Rafa copy book out.

    It’s a game I’ve seen villa loose time time again. 2 down against Utd battled back for a draw. Seeing out a tricky 1 nil away win. Nice to see at last some character and resolve. Long may it continue.

    2 undefeated. Let’s go

  47. Mark

    I’m convinced mings get replaced going forwards. How I didn’t chuck my villa mug at the tv I don’t know. If they scored a worldly fair enough I’m ok, but I can not accept waste. Mings giving that ball away constantly. Infuriates me. Just even a 70 30 header in his favour, ok you’ve won it easy but head it to your man. God I was so angry

  48. Buendia. It’s no shock to me, patience. He’s a little magician with argetine fire in his belly. Class.

    Cash superb. House change 3 at back superb, should of been done 10 mins earlier cause we couldn’t win a header. Watkins worst game. Lovely to see either him or Watkins. And chuck on for Phil.
    Now go and get that 6.

  49. John

    Yeah even though we tried to focus on our shape second half and keep it tight we had more then them. Like you say Martinez wasn’t exactly bombarded. Love him getting the clean sheet after his contract

  50. Digne looks at home straight away. Only going to get better too. He’s s little shit too which I like. His first assist of many. A small taste of things to come when him and Phil did a lovely move in the second half.

  51. Robbo yeah tough but happy as big dunc giving it the I’ve tore into them etc and they now know what it means to play for Everton….well hasn’t he been at Everton as assistant for last God knows how long! Why didn’t he tell them before! Buying all the fans a drink too before game. ….all a bit showy for me. Look at me I’m mr Everton.

  52. Reminds me of joe Barton said about Stuart Pearce. He said he wouldn’t say anything in the changing room or training ground but all of a sudden in front of a crowd he’d start randomly screaming! Playing up to the phscho image

  53. H&V,

    Yeah, 2 week preseason. Great post match interview from SG. He’s going to work the players hard to get them fit. Gotta love that statement!!

    I also felt better when Hause came on. He’s so strong and his ball playing has developed

  54. What a game again! Another 95 minutes of all action football, but this time, never felt like we might lose it. What a great display once again from Matty Cash, deserving his MOTM. Not a single player missing, although I have to agree that it was harder for Ollie Watkins, and he needs to rebuild some of his confidence.
    Agree with the comments on Buendia getting better game by game, as is Ramsey. On Mings, I have complained about him in the past, but he is improving his game, and when you are involved as much as he is, he is bound to make mistakes. The players not making mistakes, are the ones afraid to get involved. Thought McGinn really was at it from start to finish, and once he and the others get used to playing with Courtinho and Digne, we will be a much better team, but we are doing ok at the moment.
    These last two results are going to go a long way to building confidence.
    Fantastic being a Villa fan again!

    Also happy to see Dean Smith doing a great job at Norwich!

  55. Great post PP.

    I wish I had more of ur confidence though, as I was crapping myself for most of 2nd half.

    And yeah, we’re lucky to have great owners that love The Villa

  56. Great result,
    Duncan had an effect on their players
    Good points,3 points,clean sheet ,minutes for Phil,digne set pieces
    Bad points ,another 1 good 1 bad/poor halves,Watkins really poor his offside was so stupid
    Miny break now for stevie to work with players,hopefully traore Bailey are ready to go as well,chance for a new midfielder to come in Luis is not a number 6 by any way

  57. JG,
    We are already grooming a lot of the replacements needed!
    We should have an amazing squad by the summer, especially if some of the youngsters we have sent out on loan come to fruition, along with that no6.
    We are looking at several at the moment, and maybe we should have signed Doucoure before. Maybe we could give Pogba a home and the love!!

    Discovered a Youtube channel this morning, One on One, which was very good on football analysis, giving good insights on Villa and the Gerrard effect. Worth a look at. Gives all the stats to look at, assesses players that are being looked at.

  58. Apparently we’ve opened talks with Juve for Bentancur, a 6’2” #6 that has played 25 times for them this year and valued at £16m at 24 years. Probably not a good idea if Juve want to let him go after paying £9+m for him

  59. my favourite comment of the day: H&V. . . . “get the fuck in”
    Pretty much sums up how we all felt.
    Mings, for whatever reason splits opinion. The BBC post match poll has him ranked second behind Martinez. yeah, I know it’s not a scientific thing at all, but I reckon it does show that, for whatever reason, he has his admirers as well as his detractors.

    Possibly the most interesting comment of the day on the topic: JG . . . .”As for mings been replaced for me every one bar martinez will have to be if our owners want the best”

    You may well be right James although I hope not. I’d love to think that SG is going to be able to continue to develop at least half of the current squad and we’ll see them lifting trophies for us in years to come. Your alternative feels to me more like the Chelsea/Man City approach and as Ian mentioned previously, that feels a bit uncomfortable.

  60. VillaMD,
    Yes, he was mentioned earlier, and looks a good prospect. There are a couple of others too. I would still love to have Adama Traore back at Villa Park, especially with what Conor Codey has said about how hard he trains, and that he lives for his football. The sort of player that SG loves, and would make into a world class player.

  61. My comment on replacing all players
    How long does a player get now at any club,depends on age and position
    Keepers have quite a long career so martinez has good few years left
    Fullbacks Gérard has already replaced target who had really good season only few months ago with a much better player,cash who for my view gives away too many fouls,can’t cross the ball( no assists from play in over a year) has to be under pressure for his place hopefully young hessler will step up
    Life is about moving forward and I don’t don’t care if we end up like city and Chelsea buying success well good let it be our turn

  62. Robbo

    Haha relief! It really is a very big 3 points. It’s tight enough in that middle to lower section. A 1-0 away win is always great.


    Christ I forgot about Bailey, me maybe back for Leeds! Raw pace!

    Paul p

    Love write up. The tweak is Ramsey and mcguinn in those new 8 roles. That’s were our play will build from. They both can carry that ball out from deep. If those 8s play well we play well. Just wait until we get a proper 6. We will fly it will be a game changer.

    I remember in the past being infuriated with mcguinn in a 4231. Never suited him or luiz.

    By Christ Ramsey is looking like some player. Rolls Royce

  63. The take from today. Think sg is done with Watkins left and Ings st. It has to be one or the other as st. At last! Lovely to see chuck on for Phil.

    Also character being shown. Is sg attitude rubbing off. Very very important. As we are usually a win or loose team. Let’s get on a longish unbeaten run. 2 undefeated so far…turn defeats into draws.

  64. Completely and utterly stoked. Cracked open a 6 pack. It was a battle and we weren’t found wanting. Sometimes, it has to be sleeves rolled up and get into them. Buendia’s header was sublime. Digne’s corner was perfect. And Pickford picked it out of the net.

  65. Cash best performance today. Make no mistake it’s 0 coincidence hes had a motm performance on the back of Kessler being recalled and praised after impressing sg all week.

    Competion for places is elite.

    Same with the new gk coming in. Push Martinez in training. Sg loves competion. Raise your game be pushed in training and levels will improve

  66. Still a tale of two halves. This time we were better in the first period but never got much threat going during the second. The midfield is now looking a bit more useful and competitive. SJM was up for the scrap. As SG said, we drew the short straw being first up after the FSW sacking. But Duncan Disorderly is predictable so we knew what to expect.

  67. Listening to post match from sg and players they were geared up for a fight and it being just about getting the job done.

    Really it wasn’t the game for Phil at all but he needs match minutes to get fit.

  68. Heroes, once the much debated new No 6 is acquired, we should be a force to be reckoned with. Unlike VillaMD, I was never worried about them finding an equalizer. I personally didn’t think they would score if they played until midnight. That said, it’s a pity we didn’t finish them off with a second goal. But hey, an away win at Everton is special.

  69. Plug,

    I do admire the confidence that you have, I wish I could be that way. Unfortunately I’m on my arm chair trying to kick every ball. Maybe in time as Villa improve I’ll get there. UTV

  70. Really good result not too many clubs would have won at goodison yesterday big dunc had them super pumped as you would expect and we dug it out
    The set up with the 2 no.10’s is very exciting , look forward to the front 3 getting better each game
    Tactically until we get a holder in SG’s system will not take full effect but getting that missing piece will make us a serious proposition for the opposition

    Agree with those who say only Emi is safe at the club we do not have the best players in the world but I am sure a good amount of that first faze of buys are developing into players that will be European quality
    Re the Mings debate , yes he defiantly makes to many mistakes .but at the same time our current squad without him playing still goes downwards a notch

  71. Runtings I agree Mings is what he is there is no agenda against him he just makes rickets more than he should.

    He’s not the greatest in the air for strong tall bloke either, I think there are two possible reasons he has a mistake in him. the 1st is he really has only had 3 seasons as a CB and its a position that requires experience and reading of the game. The other is despite him being an intelligent lad I think he lacks self belief, just my gut feeling.

  72. Mark
    Yeah man mings does not like playing big physical players, gets bullied all the time.

    But we are better with him and he does get the blocks in and gives the other defenders organised

  73. Robbo I said Case closed because the commentary team mentioned Mings three times for making errors, its something he does and in that position it will quite rightly bring criticism, I’m baffles why you think that’s its some sort of crusade against him, he quite literally has a gaff in him. Can he improve? who knows, he seems to be a bit of a mood player to me and has a hell of a lot to learn but is already 28 and should be reaching his peak, as I said to Runtings he doesn’t have many years in the position under his belt. His journey speaks volumes as to why.

  74. We are moving
    Breaking – Suarez has given sg a glowing ref on bentacur for the cdm role. Talks continue this week.

    Number 1 target after bissouma bid of 25 mill rejected.

    Christ we mean business

  75. Tyro is captain material. He barks out the orders but he does have a brain fart a little too often. Yesterday, it was when he ambled back and lazily kicked the ball out for a corner putting us under unnecessary pressure.

    The stats that Runts provided show we benefit greatly when he is in the team.

  76. No EIG yesterday, even on the bench. Rumours Benitez didn’t want him. Seems Duncan Disorderly doesn’t want him. A strange loan signing all round.

  77. Still buzzing from the game. Like us, the Wai Ayes have a long wait until the next game so they’re going to Saudi for some warm weather training “and team bonding”. Getting a beer might prove difficult for them, arf, arf.

  78. Plug

    Love the toffees always thought there similar to us. But they remind me of us under randy and mckeish. Utter shambles now. They backed Rafa to sell digne one of the best full backs and sign some random lb for 20 mill who dunc dropped completely! El ghazi wasn’t allowed to play as on loan

  79. Ah, of course. That explains EIG absence. Three CB’s for the best part of half a season is a risk. Believe we can have one more loan, can’t see SG ignoring that risk.

  80. H&V Christ if we are buying players on recommendation from other players things have changed at Villa 🙂

    Yesterday saw Phil in that front three and he was finding it harder going with Beundia being far the better player on the day. Makes me wonder whether a midfield position suits him better and gives him more room to influence things from there as he did against Manure.

    By the time SG gets all his new players in and the afcon players plus Bailey back he’s got a problem. Does he stick with the newly discovered team or start experimenting, might be an idea to start having 5 subs as it now suits us 😉

  81. Mark

    I assume the regime have done other due diligence and scouting too! A decade ago I’d be worried!
    What a nice problem to have! Every interview I hear from sg he mentions domestic cups. Will be going full tilt at them next season.

  82. Mark

    Yeah Phil can play an 8, a bit deeper. Don’t think yesterday was a game for him tbf.

    Interesting to see him after this mini pre season. Didn’t know he just had covid too before signing

  83. Doesn’t matter what the job is, football or otherwise. The last man is in the spotlight and his efforts are the ones under the microscope. For example, the house framer does a shit job. No one notices except the drywallers. The drywallers do a shit job and no one notices except the finish carpenters. The finish carpenters can’t fix all the screw-ups before them. Then The painter comes along (poor sod) and has to fix all the gaps, sand all the shit mudding and generally make the place look good. If anything looks bad who’s fault is it? Of course it’s the painter.
    Same goes for Mings, Konza, Digne, Cash, and Hause. You get them juggling several potential scenarios and some idiot throws another bowling pin into the mix.
    Of course they will look bad. Screw up at the other end and put one over the bar, and everyone oohs and aahs at what could have been.
    It all depends what position you’re playing. BTW it’s worse for a keeper.
    Mind you, Mings does give everyone a squeaky bum every other game.

  84. Mark, I’ve agreed with you (and everyone else) several times that Mings makes the occasional gaffe and often they’re obvious ones and sometimes they’re costly. I thought Ian put it very well in his building contractor analogy, that mistakes at the back are generally more obvious and ‘appear’ more costly. A striker making a misstake and missing a goal opportunity is frustrating, but a centre back or goalkeeper making a mistake is seen as a calamity. The difference is 1 goal in both cases but it seems worse when it’s a goal conceded. Yesterday’s mistake in midfield by Digne put us more at risk that Ming’s attempt to see the ball over then goal line and then fluffing his clearance to give away a corner. Sanson’s two mistakes that cost us the game against United were far more costly than anything Mings did in either of the last two games but people are still calling him for start the next game. For some people, the bar does seem to be set higher for Mings.
    I’m really not accusing you of leading a campaign against him but it is unquestionable that others (not on this blog) do, presumably because of his high profile support for certain causes.

    Thanks for the newspaper article link by the way. I’d not seen that, before although I had seen a fair few of the facts elsewhere. As far as we Villa fans are concerned, it’s his performances on the pitch that matter but aside from that he does deserve huge respect for overcoming the various adversities that life has thrown at him.

  85. The university of Bath gave him an honourary doctorate a month or so ago for his philanthropic work and world views. Forbes magazine voted him one of the most influential people under 40 in Europe.

  86. Bath City Football Club delighted to celebrate the Success of England international footballer Tyrone Mings as he is awarded an honorary doctorate by Bath Spa University

    Bath City Football Club (Bath City FC) was honoured to be formally invited to the celebration as Bath Spa University awarded an honorary doctorate of education to Tyrone Mings. The ceremony took place at the University’s Newton Park campus on Wednesday 24 November and was attended by representatives of Bath City’s Football Team, Board, and Foundation along with members of Mr Mings’ family.

    Tyrone Mings is a brilliant defender and Captain of Premier League side Aston Villa as well as representing England on the international football stage. He was born and raised in Bath and is a highly respected and inspirational figure in the local community.

    Tyrone’s father, Adie Mings played for Bath City FC as a striker from 1990 to 1996, scoring 36 goals in 195 appearances.

    Professor Sue Rigby, Vice-Chancellor of Bath Spa University nominated Mr Mings for this award and said: “I am thrilled to be able to confer the award of Honorary Doctor of Education to Tyrone Mings. His determination, motivation and success is an inspiration to our students, the local community and any young person who strives to be the best they can be.”

    “He had a difficult route to the top of his profession, not least being released from a premier league academy at the age of 16. He did not however let this set him back or dissuade him from achieving his goal.”

    “Tyrone Mings is an example of never giving up, continuing to work hard and doing things your own way when no other way is presented to you. He is an outstanding and inspiring individual and I heartily welcome him to the Bath Spa University community.”

    During the graduation celebration event, guests were invited to ask questions and discuss with Mr Mings the factors that contributed to his success. Guests also heard about the various initiatives he is involved with to encourage younger generations, including his youth football academies in Bristol. After the graduation event Mr Mings spent some time at the University meeting members of Bath City FC, students, local community members and youth football players.

  87. Update on fitness of Leon Bailey from SG. He’s expected to be back in training within the next 2 weeks. Might see him towards the end of Feb perhaps.

    We paid a reported £28 million for him last Aug. He’s managed a bit part in 8 of our games to date plus just 1 full game (Southampton). In total, his appearance time is 424 minutes. That’s less than 5 full games. Or put another way, he’s cost us £66,000 per appearance minute. And he passed his medical before signing?

    This is not meant as a dig against the player. Injuries are part and parcel of the football industry. Merely pointing out that AVFC’s return on its investment to date is quite poor. Once he is fully fit, we’ll hopefully see some sparkling performances from him.

  88. Good on you mr Mings although I have never quite understood why being given a doctorate and not having to work for it is of much value, makes it even better that he got it for never giving up and working hard which makes him an inspiration 🙂

    I have wondered though if like Rashford all the charity stuff might interfere a bit with being an athlete/footballer? its one of the most self centred jobs out there, you mentality has to be focused on yourself pretty much 24/7. I remember playing games with things on my mind I couldn’t shift its just stops you getting into the flow all together. Ferguson hated Beckhams career outside football.

  89. SG on the break

    “It will be extremely hard for the players on certain days because we’ll push them, but it will also give us valuable time to go over our philosophy and identity and what we expect from the players in and out of possession.”

    Find it amazing that he hasn’t mentioned that stuff yet 😉

  90. Robbo, He didn’t fluff a clearance he casually tried to pass it to Martinez but played it straight out, its that type of error he does a lot not the daft tackles we saw from Sanson just lack of concentration. He is captain too and an example so naturally he’s expected to not mess up as much as others yet he does. Richarlson does get under his skin though.

  91. A no shit sherlock comment from Jack

    “I’ve found it a lot more difficult than I thought I would, adapting to a different manager and teammates.

    “At first I thought I’d have more of the ball, get more assists and goals but it doesn’t work like that at all. I’ve had nowhere near as much of the ball as I used to get at Villa.”

    Still miss watching the bloke play a one off.

  92. we need to get this Juve lad over the line. make no mistke it would be an elite signing. a game changer for sure for our team.

    Deal complecated over boca juniors fee.

    sg though has made cdm a priority 🙂

    wouldnt surprise me to gomez from pool come in

  93. mark

    jack hasnt got the freedom or space he had at villa.

    teams who play city sit 10 men behind the ball. not used to it after our countering ways.

    at the min 100mill is looking an absoulte steal….it says alot about us now that we dont really miss him!

  94. You know, I actually felt a little bit sorry watching Joe Saturday.

    Confidence gone, role diminished to cog. Dreams dying, joy of football and being a hero gone.

    We all knew. I’m guessing the takeaway was that he was arrogant enough to believe he’d change Pep and not the other way round.

    He made his bed. But I don’t think he’s the sharpest tool in the shed and those close to him either wouldn’t/couldn’t/didn’t give him better advice.

    Maybe it comes good. But seeing KDB’s role/contribution vs Jack’s…when Jack used to rival him in the stats while at Villa.

  95. H&V,

    I always get suckered in to wanting us to complete a deal we’re chasing like this.

    But. If the stats and profile are to be believed, absolute bargain, class player, experienced winner who should almost certainly improve us.

  96. I think what I like about the kind of business we’re doing right now is that it’s smart.

    Pouncing on troubled teams (who have dug their own graves) to make big transfers for a very reasonable outlay in January…just a really smart way to hold fire and strike.

  97. In other news, I’ve unblocked Frem, and given a bit of advice.

    I know he’s passionate and loves the Villa, will be enjoying the business we’re doing.

    But I have try to balance the experience for everyone. I really don’t enjoy hearing that people stay away and miss out on conversations they’d otherwise enjoy.

  98. what I wonder is are these players in a book SG and his mate keep entitled “Players wot I’d like if I had the money” or are they Langes punts?

    Frem’s ok he tickles me as I know Trez is really his favourite. SG might let him out on loan to save him showing Phil up in the skills department, trez not Frem.

    As for the DM I hope he’s a really good one, how many times have the turned up here touted as good and been ordinary, then leave and be good again, please god just once.

  99. Yay to Frem’s contributions. If Trez goes out on loan, SG had better make absolutely certain that results do not deteriorate otherwise the blame game will start on these pages. We ALL know that Trez is worth TWO men in the team. Therefore the loss of headless chicken running will not be tolerated.

  100. The geezer who lives next door to me is a small heath fan. With Rodrigo Betancur imminent, I asked him if he was green with envy around the gills. Fucking fluorescent emerald he said.

  101. in 2020 man city big 50m euro for bentacour.

    hes 24, won the seria a 3 times played 31 times in champ league and is a urugauay int. won trophies with boca too.

    hes 6’2 and his stats are very very good. a progressive passing cm in the mould of fabinho.

    please god im on my knees get it done

  102. Latest on Betancur is that Allegri doesn’t want to let him go until a suitable replacement is found. Sounds like there’s a way to go yet before we can get him.

  103. H&V,

    I read one article that Bantancur is more of an 8 than a 6. I hope he’s not another Douglas Luiz.

    Looks like we missed out on Alverez from River Plate with him joining Man C.

    Glad we got Bidace and Archer loaned out to championship. Looking forward to seeing them progress

  104. Apparently, another player we are showing interest in, is Kamara from Marseilles, maybe they get Sanson back in exchange…
    No problem with FRem returning…
    Can always skip a few of the repetitive comments.
    Bencatur would be a great signing on his stats, etc, and he he admired SG and Lampard as he grew into a player.

  105. mark

    re transfer targets. think it may be a bit of both you know. the gk olsen is celarly langes man, they go way back. but sg is big on transfers and does see himself more a manager than a coach.

    he deffo wont have any players palmed off to him he doesnt want thats for sure.

  106. Not sure that letting Luiz go is really good for us, but we will have to see. Would not like to see him become a big star at Arsenal.
    We are happy to let Ashley Young join Watford, so long as they pay his wages.
    Seems that there could be a lot going on in this last week.

  107. Hmmmm the deal is hard to do apparently. We are destined not to have a cdm and complete our team.

    That man Utd idiot gold ridge reckons we are going hard for kamara though. He’s a definite 6 but pretty elite. Can’t see him coming

  108. Great to see Cameron Archer score tonight and tuck Olbyon away. And Chuk the younger got on the pitch for 10 minutes with Livingston at Ibrox.

  109. Yeah, H&V, PP

    …Bentancur news seems to be all over the map. Does also seem we’re going after Kamara from OM.

    If anyone’s to be believed, Juve seem close to Vlahovic deal, Nandez ID’d as replacement for Bentancur. So, lots of pieces, we seem to have upped our bid for the sell-on compensation.

  110. Can’t see us selling Luiz before summer, seems like SG rates him, knows he’s got more to offer.

    Young I can see being surplus with Digne in, never mind the other players fighting for playing time.

  111. Appearances
    If we can replace Jack I think we will be ok replacing Doug 30 mill would be very good buisines by villa in my humble opinion

  112. Good to see that Trezeguet had a good 49minutes with Egypt, after coming on as a substitute in the 79min. Had some good stats too. He did miss a good chance, putting it narrowly wide.
    Like everyone, pleased to see Archer score for PNE against the Baggies.

  113. Yes PP Trez getting fit.

    Trezeguet may have started on the bench but his contributions were key to ensuring Egypt were able to progress.

    In 49 minutes of action he recorded six shots, 14 passes, one key pass, two clearances, three interceptions and one tackle. He provided both a threat going forward and a tenacity defensively that allowed his team to take the game to penalties and eventually progress.

    Send Phil back

  114. I would describe super trez’s efforts last night as high energy and far from controlled
    Could well be Doug leaving if we get over 30 mil as we seem to be going for a player that plays in his position

  115. On Luiz…

    £30m would be a good return. If a more suitable 6 comes in, you’ve got Ramsey, McGinn, Sanson, Luiz, Chuk at the fringes (and at some point Nakamba) fighting for two or three spots, depending on what tweaks we might see with Bailey and Traoré available and then whether Phil stays or not.

    If it’s true that Villa are preparing to open talks over a new contract with Doug, then it seems to be a case of trusting SG to know midfielders when he sees them.

    There’s also his statement about depth, more games to play, rotation, etc., never mind injuries. Given I don’t think we actually need to sell to buy, can’t see the harm in amassing MF talent, letting them fight it out, then cashing in and moving on for next-level players.

  116. agree re trusting Gerrard to know who to keep and who to cash in on .. its seems a lot of centre mids to keep happy if another comes in especially if they play in dougs position .but they guy has won the Olympics and copa America in the last 12 months or so and still only 23

  117. There is much more upside to Luiz than to sell him. Like runtings said, an Olympic gold medal, copa America under his belt. You can’t buy that experience. And like everyone knows he’s 23.
    We all like Keinan, he’s 23 but he’s on loan. That gives you an idea what level of experience Luiz is at.

  118. Ian

    Yeah man, I don’t want to sell him. There is so so much more to come from him. He’s spent most of his villa career as a 6 in a double pivot. Not his game. Get him in sg ball as a 8 with a class 6 he will fly

    Sounds like we don’t want to sell and will give him a contract. Toon and arsenal want him

  119. Latest is we are now going for a deal for LIngard from United, Neil from Sunderland and Madivi, formerly on loan at PNE, but now doing well, and we could sign Suarez by Monday….

    We will have enough to field two full squads at this rate, and the girls are also snapping up players, having just signed Scotland’s captain..!!

    As Calum Chambers says, Villa Park is the place to be!….it’s all happening down the Villa!!!!

  120. Oh! and now Eden Hazard would only cost us a mere £33million, wages could be a problem…£378,000 per week…
    Lingard £15million, BenCantur £22.5million, £35million for Suarez, and still money left over for young Neil .
    How much has Gerrard got to spend….

    I am sure that really we are close to completing our business in this window, but who knows…
    mayb e the sky is the limit!!

  121. “Spent most of his career as a 6 in a double pivot.” Not his natural position and someone wants to spend 35 Mill. How much for his natural position?

  122. Apparently Chambers has played a lot as a 6. Great squad player that can cover RB, CB, or DM

    Send Hayden on loan to Championship if he’s not going to get game time.

    Rumors of Lingard joining is such fake news. I will die if we sign him with the quality we have.

    Looks like Toon finally made a great signing with Guimaraes from Lyon for £35m + 8m in addons. According to The Athletic French reporter, Guimaraes is by far the best DM in France. Gotta be a risk though as it usually takes league1 players months to adjust to EPL

  123. villamd

    Yeah i saw chambers spent a loan season at fulham in the prem as a cdm and was player of the season.

    I just want the cdm in now.

    would be he best window ever…in the notourious january window too! kudos to villa

  124. The squad certainly has more depth these days, though that didn’t seem to do the trick for Christmas. Perhaps with a string of lower table teams coming up, Villa can win consistently for a while.
    There are a lot of positives.

  125. hey trinity, hope your well. Yep we need to get reilient, defeats into draws. thats why im hyped about last 2 games. 2 down against utd to draw and a gritty 1-0 away win. long may that continue.

  126. I’m not believing the Lingaard talk…Think it is all really down to the CDM, now.

    Also seeing that Bertie picked up a groin tweak at AFCON. He’s apparently expected to play next match, though.

    If he gets himself halfway fit and then injured again in this tournament…I can see his Villa time largely being over. Perhaps he’s trying to get himself in the window during AFCON.

  127. Apparently Spurs wanted to do a loan and Juve said no. But. Seeing now that Lyons are interested.

    Feels like PKs at the Hawthorns. And we don’t even know whether he’ll do the business or not! 😀

    Given the interest, though, you’d like to think he will. Long as he comes to us.

  128. hey Trinity long time no see mate how are you?

    As for this mad dash Jan Window I just don’t know what to think. I’m not particularly excited by it either
    Strangely, normally I like a new face or two. I think its the thought of splashing out and feck all happening on the pitch (see Everton)

    One thought of mine is that the mega rich have managed to get mega richer doubling their fortunes to astronomical proportions while we scrape by saving the planet and paying the butchers bill.

    Could be our owners have faired similarly in the doubling of fortunes stakes.

  129. H&V,

    Could be…Talk all along is that we’d turn to Kamara from Rangers. SG knows him obviously, wouldn’t cost much, and we can go in for an upgrade later, if need be.

    Honestly, given neither Luiz nor Nakamba ticks all the boxes there, a lot of players would be an upgrade, doesn’t have to be world-class, atm.

    But all this talk…you never know. OL aren’t exactly a great destination, Spurs…? Maybe a bit better looking at the moment, but you never know the Levy effect. With personal terms, our movement in the window, it’s probably just about hitting the price.

    Again, you never know, and Juve seem to be playing games, but the clock’s ticking for them.

  130. Seems that the oil is finally turning the wheels at Newcastle, and they are set to complete more deals over the weekend, securing Nketiah from Arsenal, and Dan Burn from Brighton, amongst others.

  131. So latest

    Spurs bid for bentocour who director of footy is ex juve. Looks more unlikely as time ticks on. Juve signing Zakaria so bentocour deffo allowed to leave.

    Our bid for bissouma still on table though…..and Brighton will sell at the right price now!

    Could also be a late bid for lingaard!

    And luiz subject to a 32 mill bid….from Spurs!
    The games afoot! Jan transfer window is usually dull!

  132. And now I read we’re coming in with a bid…Between the Italian press, Twitter, and everyone else, it’s madness.

    Fact we’d apparently only enquired and never made a formal offer, yet reports would have it we’ve had two knocked back.

  133. H&V,

    Does seem to be some speculation about that, Luiz to get Bentancur. One where I really have to trust the manager.

    £50m is a lot of money…I’d think Villa would back themselves to get better value. But maybe a deal can be reached somewhere between £35m-£45m.

    Then I really wonder where Phil fits into all this, longer term. Doesn’t mean we don’t need a DM, but if he’s making that spot his, will Bailey be tapped, is it someone else?

  134. Funniest things I’m reading are “Arsenal, Spurs, etc., want Luiz, offering £32m, but Dave, 43, from Kings Norton doesn’t rate him and wants to sell.”

  135. Also, Villa fans:

    “Who’s Rodrigo Bentancur?”

    “Our season’s over if we don’t get Bentancur.”

    “Never wanted him anyway.”

    You have to love it.

  136. I will say, I tend to agree with those saying the Bentancur circus is not how Villa do business, and that there could be something completely different ticking away.

    Also agree with those who are happy to trust Villa and let them be smart and patient.

  137. Haha some funny comments there John.

    Can tend to get wrapped up in the drama of deadline day. Some journo said we are done now too.

    Sg did say they’ll wait for the right man, else wait till summer.

    It’s been a cracking window though and certainly strengthened. Chambers can play cdm

  138. I think Chambers is a fantastic signing you know. I think he’s a real good football player.

    Very calm. Good technique. Can play a lot of positions

    I think he might even play DM for us. He played there Fulham and got player of the season. Adds height

  139. I’m glad Bentancur isn’t happening.. He isn’t what we need

    I hope we go for Bousima now.

    I’d also sell Luiz for 35/40 million

    Sell him sign Bousima

    If not stick Chambers DM

  140. Frem,

    Agree with both your comments. Great posts

    Interesting that Athletico want Cash to replace Trippier. I’d let him go for £40m and bring back Guilbert who I think is a better player. Also see what Hayden is like

  141. Davis flying at Forrest. Not surprised is so quick and strong. I love him. I’d love to see him starting for us.

    It is annoying we haven’t signed a DM, again

    It’s a desperate position for us. Luiz is just useless as a DM

    We need someone to protect our back 4.

    Kamara available for 5 million. Zakaria is fantastic and gone for 6 million.

    It’s mad we haven’t done anything

  142. Well things could go crazy! I’d bleed toon dry and sell target tbh.

    Not luiz though….but think if we get a big bid they may well accept.

    I guess if they can raise money for bissouma who improves the first 11 they’ll do it?

    Sounds like our number one targets for cm is Philips and bissouma. Don’t see Phillips leaving Leeds for us in a million years though and bissouma will be out our reach in the summer

  143. H&V,

    A bit interesting…Little piece in the mail from Villa ‘insiders’ saying formal bid never made, not a holding midfielder and that he prefers London.

    So, not sure what to make of it. Maybe a question put to the player, he’s not so keen, Villa say ‘fine then’.

    Then seeing we’re going in for Bissouma now knowing the price. Could just as easily see it being Kamara for much much less money and a more natural fit.

  144. jbd,

    Fair play to Phillips, sticking with Leeds which I’m sure he’ll continue to do, but I’d certainly be happy with that.

    Archer might be our own little Bowen in the making.

  145. Keinan:

    Good to see him playing and scoring. He’s needed that desperately. If he can just get the games, minutes, and confidence (and stay fit), he could turn a corner.

    Never disliked him, has a lot of good qualities, but cursed with injuries ever since we rode him hard back when he was young. Obviously was just never in the frame to get enough minutes with us after that.

    Me, I’m guessing Archer will be the preferred option from amongst our own. But I’d really like to see Davis play regularly somewhere and succeed.

  146. Frem,

    Be patient on the DM…Looks like SG is getting what he wants, so I don’t think it’s madness we haven’t done anything.

    More like waiting for the right player and deal for the club and not just making a signing for the sake of it.

  147. Every Villa born promising young forward has flopped (Gabby jury out?) since Gary Shaw. Hope Archer can break that miserable record. Has he been cursed by playing for England?

  148. Yeah, jbd…Not a good record. But records were made to broken (glass half-full).

    Really hope he can cut it, that prototypical small forward: fast, elusive, strong, quick feet and can run all day.

  149. I’m surprised Trezeguet scored to be honest.. He’s missed easier chances than that in a Villa shirt. Away at West Ham springs to mind.. Then at home a week later….. Anyway

    Targett on loan makes zero sense.

    Get 25 million for him and sign Bousima

  150. PP, if he becomes an AFCON winner the Bindippers will not be able to afford him!! Maybe the danger of him leaving will come from the Saudi Sovereign Wealth Fund!! If that happens, Mark will be distraught!!

  151. Targett, Luiz, Trezeguet, Steer, Young and more. SG really is having an early clear out of the squad to make room for his own. Let us just hope that it works, and does not unbalance the squad.

  152. Frem- Right so you really rate never scores Davis over someone who actually has scored at the top level and some important goals to boot. I mean Davis has never missed any sitters has he? nor Watkins, Nor Jack, Nor Mings, Nor Konsa, Nor targett, nor Cash, Nor McGinn….. zzzzzzzzz

    Speaking to my Everton loving friend today he is concerned that Frank the bank will spend another £200m plus to add to the £550m spunked on the team for nothing so far. I told him not to worry we will soon eclipses that.

  153. mark

    the key is spending it with a plan and recruiting well.

    both everton and villa in last 10 -15 years have spent a fortune but we have chucked most of it down the drain.

    i have hope because for a start sg knows how he wants to play and what players suit the system. and well we seem to be run superbly since nswe have taken over.

    everton remind me of villa under randy 10%

  154. its a superb window strengthing key areas,

    25mill digne a snip. amazing signing.
    olsen loan to buy for 3.5
    Chambers a great bit of business, shrewd and cleaver on a free
    coutinho loan with a option to buy for 33 if we want.

    a clever window and not hardly anything spent. great business

  155. No way will Compass waste £500 million on the team. On the contrary, purchases to date are showing a healthy increase in value over outlay. Lerner let MON waste a fortune and Dr Skint let Di Matteo do the same. Before them, Herbert was well known for his closed and welded wallet.

    So it’s great to see the club run in the correct manner. The current value of AVFC far exceeds the amount that Compass have ploughed in. Oh, and the Leeds game is sold out.

  156. thi sprem league is mad you know. i just want safety.

    toon doing business.

    overnight toffees have frank as manager, van beek on loan, and getting ali on a crazy good deal!

    If you dont spend and spend well your toast in this league

  157. It is all about spending well, H&V. Simple, but you still see a lot of deals that don’t make sense just to get in ‘names’ or perhaps fill a gap.

    Bissouma is fairly indicative of being shrewd. We have no idea what goes on behind the scenes, but I’d say the ROI just wasn’t deemed to be adequate. And there could’ve been questions about character, etc., that discouraged Villa.

    Like everyone else, I get caught up in the excitement and it can feel like a letdown not to do a deal.

    I’m also imagining there are other considerations…Like Phil staying or not, what would the summer needs be then, and the budget. FFP, too.

  158. And I think, don’t know who said it above, but the idea of a clear-out…You probably don’t want to do it all at once for the sake of the dressing room and cohesion, never mind January financials.

    Targett’s a funny one, but clearly says SG wasn’t going to play him. The loans make sense.

    Does Bissouma, for example, get more expensive in the summer? I’m not sure. That’s a hefty price tag. And Brighton may well have less leverage and also time to find a replacement. If United, etc., were in for him, too, Villa probably didn’t want to get drawn into a bidding war on the final day.

    £40m-£50m would have far eclipsed our record transfer. You have a number and walk away, that’s the smart way to do business.

    Spurs, Everton, etc., have bought and sold a lot of players to little lasting effect. They’ve thrown Conte a bone, but how long will he really be there?

  159. Newcastle got stronger and Everton.

    Not signing a DM ( again) is criminal really. Its a huge huge problem for us.. Luiz is just useless there and it’s a massive weakness for us. He just doesn’t tackle. He can’t run.

    We should have paid 50 for Bousima

    I’m going to ask a question

    What is the point in Lange now? Wd don’t need him anymore

    He should be providing us with bargains like Kamara or Zakaria as a DM

    We don’t need hm to scout Countinio, Dinge, Chambers etc. We all know they are good

    He just Seems pointless now especially that he can’t even find us a DM again

  160. It’s annoying that we have Buendia and Countinio

    But we don’t have a DM to let them go olaytas freely

    Luiz is just not good enough

    I’d rather chambers sit in DM

  161. A different thing, but there’s a conventional wisdom (and some debate) in the NFL draft that you pick the best available player, rather than draft for need.

    Lots of caveats (sometimes the best available player is also the need you have).

    Buying (or trading or doing a huge free-agent contract) at the peak is not usually smart unless you’re really confident it’s the one piece you need to put you over the top.

  162. Frem,

    I don’t disagree that we could use a proper DM.

    But if you’re putting all that faith in SG (and it seems he’s had a lot of pull on decisions this window), then I’m guessing it’s SG who isn’t convinced.

    Also could be as simple as NSWE not sanctioning £50m. Could be the other players didn’t want a move to Birmingham no matter who was manager. Could be that the Greenwood revelations put the hierarchy off a player involved in an assault accusation.

    Could also be that like I said above, Coutinho leaves a lot of unanswered questions and Villa don’t want to box themselves into a corner just yet.

    And you could be entirely right about Chambers stepping in there.

  163. As for Lange, we’ll see…The underlying research, scouting, and evaluations will all be a lot more than a single man can handle when he’s managing a team.

    The linkages between agents, DOFs, clubs with history, geography, style of play all factor into deals, as well.

  164. It’s hard to be critical of our great club new owners especially after spending big again, but for me a decent defensive midfielder might be missing link,
    From our promotion season our keeper and defence is improved beyond recognition including back ups,as for our midfield sorry no matter what 3 we pick are not Good enough to win midfield battle which for me is reason we are so inconsistent ,in truth its one of worst in the league
    Attacking all decent players but not yet gelled,beundi highly praised here and elsewhere 5 goal and assists contributions in over half a season not near good enough
    Gérard has 17 matches now to get them to blend together and pick up a decent return or it will be another summer upheaval of transfers

  165. It seems that we have a manager who has a clear idea of the players that he wants and is he said he is prepared to wait until the summer if the right deal can’t be done
    We only have league games to play so lets keep the squad tight and get into some rhythm and climb that table

  166. Frem

    Sg knows we need a cdm and we will get the right one at the right time. I’ve waited 2 year so can wait until the summer!

    Like you say though im going to be very interested to see if chambers is going to play cdm

  167. runtings, you’re right, it does seem that Gerrard is being decisive about who he thinks will fit with the way he wants to play.
    I can’t help feeling a bit sorry for Matt Targett. He did well last year and was voted player’s player of the year so it’s quite a turnaround. You’d have liked to think that Gerrard could have helped develop him further but it seems he’s decided he won’t fit the way he wants us to play.
    Having Jack on his side of the pitch undoubtedly helped him and he clearly knew, and relished his role. I guess it was always going to be difficult to recreate that once Jack left.

  168. Robbo

    I love targett and have always praised him.

    But also said as soon as sg came through the door he is toast. Much like cash is if he doesn’t improve in final 3rd. Sg ball demands fullbacks who are wingers really

  169. Well the window is closed and all our business is done until the end of the season.
    The fact we have not signed a midfielder may also mean that we are going to see more of Carney Chukwuemeka, and interchange with Chambers, Luiz, Ramsey and McGinn.
    I was fascinated to see that the Ramsey boys trained as boxers, although they did not have any fights, which is why they are both so good on their feet.
    Villa really have got their finances under control with loaning so many players out, and as H&V says a net spend of £2.5million over two windows.
    Trezeguet is still a Villa legend!!!
    He will return with the a replica of the Cup to display at Villa Park!!! (assuming of course that the Pharoahs win it).

  170. Some ups and downs for me, Phil and digne hint at more attacking play hopefully but the loss of Targett a negative especially on loan to a rival. Olsen? a bit of a surprise with the season half over unless we sign him.

    I am truly surprised SG gave Trez no chance after such a long lay off, I think he will tear up that Turkey league, again. Traore is injured more times than he breathes and has no defensive qualities. Bailey a good player but so far fairing no better than Traore on the injury front so Trez out? Bidace too.

    For all the splashing the cash rhetoric it looks like we didn’t or couldn’t and SG has balanced his expensive wage additions by loaning squad players out.

    Some are saying that He’s being decisive? fair enough but lets be honest most of us have said similar over the last two seasons over quite a few players. Nearly the entire starting line up has gone from our 1st season up bar the CB’s and two mids so quell surprise? nah.

    No DM is a surprise, a big surprise, so either they were to expensive or Villa and SG not pull enough for some.

  171. Of course there is the next step, come the summer lets say Phil Joins, there’s £30m+ gone, £40m on a DM? that’s £70m of your budget. Olsen signs?

    So who leaves? Doug? Trez? Traore? Cash? Targett? Ings? Bailey? ElGhazi? a lot of money in that lot but then a lot of space to fill in the squad. As SG wants two for every position that are challenging its a tough order.

    Who potentially comes in from the loanees? Archer? Bidace? Davis? Ramsey M2? Barry? Raikhy? Kessler? Then there’s Smith the young CB from Dundee? I

    Its going to be a big summer.

  172. mark

    will be a big summer in terms of the quality coming in. he only wants the best.

    0 concern over the cdm. He wants one but he wants the best. glad he just didnt settle on a back up plan this window. good signs.

    summer will be
    back up lb
    maybe a striker.
    then phil or maybe not phil.

    3 or 4 real quality players but after our net spend this last 2 windows no probs.

    lets get luiz and chuck tied down too.

  173. Martinez
    Cash Konsa Mings Digne
    ? Chambers House ?
    Mcguinn Nakamba Ramsey
    Sanson Luiz
    Buendia Coutinho
    Bailey Chuck
    el ghazi
    im certain are out the door
    questions over striker and if phil stays. and the full back areas.

  174. H&V I don’t know about settling, Spurs got Bentancur and that’s why we didn’t , not much to do with waiting. Targett saw the writing on the wall, if he thought he stood any chance he’d still be here. Any manager says they want competition for places, whether they get its another thing all together

    He might only want the best but do the best want him and Villa?We will see, the next step is Europe which I would think he is expected to deliver next season or near to. I’m going to keep my powder dry on that and where we are heading.

  175. apparently we enquired 3 weeks ago re bentocour and that was all. since day 1 bissouma was the target with phillips also liked.

    Yeah targett wants to go and play fair enough. we move on. i expect that aaron hicky to join.

    Yeah he wants the best he can get that fits his system but of course the elite want champ league and europe.

    but seeing as he attracted phil and digne i reckon we can get some very good players in.

  176. Now is time for lange to step up,why have we struggled to get bargains from Europe and elsewhere even lower leagues
    Summer going to be busy again its a pity Newcastle haddent a loan to buy clause with target,him along with no assist elgastly trez Fred have to be moved on,traore will need a similar finish to season as last to stay,as for sanson doesn’t look if Gérard fancies him in his side so could be a bit cash raised there, then it’s a lb,defensive midfielder and possibly a new striker needed

  177. Yeah, we can’t get all football manager about the squad.

    SG has his ideas, and that’s fine. If he’s going to shape a squad AND be here to make it work. His success is tied up with Villa’s, for the moment, but he could and probably will jump ship if it isn’t quite working.

    Targett is the example. He knew from the off he was going to be replaced. Fans were slating him, then Digne in for £25m on a four-year deal? Targett was only every going to sit the bench, he knew that and he wanted to play.

    Fair play to Villa for letting him.

    But this is always the issue with building depth. Those players are going to want to leave. Only the squads spread across all competitions can give them playing time.

  178. SG and the business, etc. This is also how other teams get into trouble. You change managers, give them latitude, then they’re gone for one reason or another and the bits and pieces may not all match up.

    Good players, generally, but not part of a longer term plan, then you’re back to the Island of Mismatched Toys.

    Spurs: Couldn’t quite get over the hump (several reasons), in comes Conte, we see players brought in, others let go. Will they end up much different? It’s really CL or bust.

    Everton, much the same thing.

    Villa youth may grow into some of these rolls and provide the depth and continuity. But there are likely to be only a couple-three out of the current batch.

    In short, agree with a lot of what MK is saying.

  179. JC I agree and there is only so much chucking the money at it you can do, what you really need is a good team that can challenge without being bled dry. With Jack here and Barkley firing we were not far off that, damn shame he bailed.

    What we have now if its a plan is almost back to one man Villa with no wingers. Of course it could all be change if Phil gets trophy sick.

    I don’t want to sound pessimistic just how I see the situation without bias.

  180. Think you’re being more realistic than pessimistic, MK.

    Though, with Buendia, we kind of have two-man Villa. Until the summer.

    Was chatting with Ian, and it had been niggling at me, but he brought up whether SG is just doing Phil a favor, getting him back on track.

    No one knows, of course, and if it benefits us, great. And maybe he does stay. But could just be nothing more than a stop-gap.

  181. We hear so many times that players use their desire to play Champions League as the main reason for wanting to move (Jack for instance). I’ve always believed that kind of thinking is a crock of shit. Players want to play in the best competitions. Well, you have to say that the EPL is best. It is far stronger than the Champions League until teams reach the quarter finals, when it does become top class. Up until the quarters, games are tougher in the EPL.

    Rangnick stated he was shocked at the strength of even the bottom teams in the EPL. Ronaldo, Coutinho, Suarez, Aguero know this whereas Messi, Mbappe, Lewandowski and other elite players have never experienced it. It even took Pep time to adjust before he got Citeh rolling.

    If Bissouma wants to play Champions League, unless he joins one of the quarter finalists, he’ll find it pretty unrewarding. However, for the clubs, reaching the Champions League is an opportunity to gain great riches and their desire is completely understandable.

  182. Plug,

    It’s a fair point. The league is brutally competitive and rich, all that global TV. So I do think PL is a big draw as a stage, and for earnings.

    But it’s a double-edged sword. A lot of players know they can stay on the continent (are Spain and Italy terrible places to be?), be in CL contention, and avoid a knock-down drag-out league season.

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