Now that the dust has settled, England are doing England things with Southgate, and Diaby and Digne have been barred from the Olympics, so it’s probably time to turn our heads to the transfer rumblings gaining steam. It’s probably not overly dramatic to say this may well be a crucial summer for Villa’s and Emery’s project.

Before I talk about specific players (and you know who they are), I want to get into what I think Villa need most.

Attribute Needs
Ball winning

From that you can probably surmise I think we’re a bit lightweight overall, and if we have a player who’s aggressive and creative, like McGinn, we also have a player there that lacks a bit of pace. We need more players with both. When you look at McGinn, Luiz, Tielemans, Bailey and Diaby: There’s quality and speed in Bailey and Diaby, but it’s not very stout as a group overall, and not suited to imposing any kind of sustained high press. It’s the blend that counts.

I guess I’ve left out Kamara, and he’s a tricky one for me. Obviously his absence showed, but I’ve never been 100% convinced. Well, I was first, but. He’s a good player, no doubt. Did a lot of important work, no doubt. But there are better players in that position and I’m not sure he’s a true CL DM. However, he’s probably good enough (given financial constraints). When he returns, that is. There’s a hole to fill in the meantime, and it seemed to me that when he came back from injury before, he was a bit more timid in 50-50s, putting in a tackle, etc. I could be entirely wrong, but that was my overall impression. Tim Iroegbunam didn’t inspire much confidence. Big summer for him. (I guess I should say here that we need to improve the youth pipeline to at least get us one or two decent squad/backup players.)

So, the other absentees. We have no idea how Buendia, Mings, and Kamara are going to be when they return. Ty obviously got past a serious knee injury when he joined us. But he’s older now, and I don’t know how the two injuries compare. You’d like to think “Hey, that’s almost like three new signings,” but Mings, if 100%, would simply be replacing Carlos or Lenglet, but as an upgrade. Buendia, yeah, new signing. Kamara? Fingers crossed. Rogers? Probably fine, and probably an able (cheaper) replacement for Jacob Ramsey, who may well be off. Oh, and Moreno.

All of that seems pretty straightforward. We need some better athletes overall. Quality? Simple enough, in theory: More one-touch players.

Position Needs
There’s depth, of course, needed almost everywhere. That’s a given. And more one-touch players. Have I mentioned that? We have to be able to play out against high pressure (Chelsea, anyone?), and that’s how you do it. Beyond depth, the ratio of those players at the clubs above us is one of the telling differences. We’re generally playing the same kinds of tactics as the top clubs, but we don’t move it as quickly and assuredly.

Duran? Lots of potential, keep if possible, but if someone’s offering biggish money, he can probably go. Ollie, fabulous. Another proven finisher with top-flight experience? Yes. Can we afford it? Dunno. A Duran sale might get us more of a finished product. Sometimes you have to make that tradeoff if you want to hold position.

I’m not against keeping any of the ones we have. Most of the above discussion centers on midfield, so you can see what I think we lack and what I’d hope we might add in. I think Barkley will fit the mold at a very good price. Weston McKinnie might very well, too. If you add Barkley, not sure how much you end up missing Luiz as it seems he may well be off. You add Ross and McKinnie, and I think you’ve probably made up for him leaving, made a profit, and added a body.

Buendia’s a wild card. I think he’d suit Emery’s system. Seems willing to adapt. No idea what Emery thinks. You know I like him. He’s combative, competitive and a one-touch player with good vision.

Ramsey? We all see the flashes, and he’s been very unfortunate with injuries. He starts moving up a level, then gets interrupted. The season was almost non-existent for him after that summer injury. Again, if decent money is offered, I think we’ll sell. Rogers has roughly the same attributes, and a home-grown player is pure profit.

Various rumors have us linked to all sorts of players across the continent with all sorts of attributes. So we just wait to see. The Luiz deal will be the first domino in any substantial turnover, I’d think. If we can add another silky operator with pace who can run all day, I’m for it. Not sure what money Tielemans is on, but some of the names we’re linked with…We can probably get a better athlete with the same quality. Since he was a free, that’s profit, too.

I don’t like playing against him, but depending on the fee, Gallagher could be just the sort of aggressive, all-action pain in the ass we need.

Probably our biggest weakness. I don’t think Cash is a particularly good defender. Digne and Moreno are just okay defenders, but they’ve been tasked more with providing wide service. Both are getting older, and Moreno’s coming off a significant injury. I think we could upgrade on any of the three. I’d really like someone who just shuts things down, especially given how we set up. Would be immense to essentially take one side of the pitch away from opponents as a true attacking threat. We saw a couple of players do that to us in the Conference League.

Center Backs
Obviously Konsa’s class and I think we were at our best with him and Mings. Both read the game well, have good pace, are strong enough. Mings, we miss the aerial dominance (see set piece goals conceded, etc). Lenglet, gone. Carlos? Big wages and probably not worth them. Strong, but not tall enough and not as fast as Mings or Konsa.

Torres? He’s class, yes. But he’s not terribly strong, doesn’t seem to have a great vertical leap on him, and isn’t as fast as he could be. That said, he came it and generally was very good. Cool under pressure, good bringing it out, better distribution than Mings. Reads the game well. Don’t know how we set up with Mings and him in the squad, as I’m not convinced by Konsa at RB. He does pretty well, but it’s asking an awful lot of him.

So, depending on Mings’ recovery, we might just want one or two decent backups. Would probably help if we could offload Carlos and spend the money more wisely. I could also see Mings being sold. But I don’t know what market there’ll be for him.

Seems like there are a number of players linked who have lots of experience and production in top-flight setups. And a lot of them seem to have fairly low release clauses. If Monchi’s on his game, I get the impression that pending the proposed relaxation to financial restrictions and the sale of one or two players like Luiz and Ramsey, we could probably do a lot of good business that makes us better suited to PL and CL challenges. Don’t know how the payments work (I should go read), but would be an accomplishment just to get to the knockout stages of the CL.

It’s also going to be hard to finish fourth again. Greater depth and a stronger midfield would give us a better shot. We’re likely going to have to at least split games against Chelsea, United, Spurs, Newcastle and West Ham to have any chance (even better, getting four points out of the fixtures), and continue overperforming against City, Arsenal and Liverpool. It will be tight again.

But like I say above, if we can address certain things and get deeper, you never know.

Over to you.

Comments 124

  1. Plenty there John to get our teeth into. The big unknown is exactly how much leeway we have under the PSR regs. Conservative estimates will be made on income, most of which can be assessed in advance. Heck will have calculated match day income, we’ll work on the minimum Champions League games (8 in total) and sponsorship money is already known. Upgrades to those players mentioned may therefore take time.

    Which brings me to Kosta Nedeljkovic, the Serbian RB already signed who it’s claimed is the proverbial shit off the shovel on a par speed wise with Mbappe. But he’s only 18 years old and during warm weather training in Cyprus injured his knee which restricted the rest of his season. He’s 6 foot tall which is 1 inch less than Cash.

    So the engine room needs some upgrades as does the defensive wall. And amidst all this, I’m nervous what an injury to Ollie would do to us. Guess Monchi is working overtime right now.

  2. Yeah, the money bit’s hard to know, Plug. If it’s as tight as we’re hearing, that’s why I wouldn’t be at all surprised if we cash in on one or two of ours.

    Fans always hate to see that, but Luiz’s stock will never be higher, for example, and if you spend it well…

  3. Just a few idle meanderings.

    Will there be any Brazilians playing for Villa next season?

    How much of a London boy is Conor Gallagher and could he transfer his game up north? What happened to beaky fave Mason Mount at manure?

    Any one remember how good the Ollie, Jack and Ross combination were in the first 15 games of that 7-2 season?

    Will there be a premier league next year after the UAE shityzens outspend them in the courts and make them pay for accusing poor little shitty of serial cheating?

  4. 656, the Citeh shenanigans is going to make the EPL a laughing stock if they win their latest legal action. And if they do win, it can only be by some obscure legal point. At which point, anarchy prevails. Why wait until November when their other 115 transgressions are heard, just boot them out of the EPL for 5 years. Who cares where they then go.

    It’s ridiculous that the UAE Gov’t can come to the UK and sue all and sundry at will whereas the UK has no chance of legal action against the UAE Gov’t in the UAE.

  5. Very good analysis John.
    @Plug. Thanks for the information on Nedeljovic. I watched some of Red Star’s matches and did not see him and i was wondering what happened.
    About our team, i perfectly understand the rumours around McKennie and Gallagher. Both are pressing monsters and would instantly upgrade our midfield which i think is the weakest link.
    Kamara is injury prone and we are not sure if he will be the same player when he recovers.
    I think Emery will field a back three of Mings, Torres and Konsa. I reckon that was his plan before Mings got injured. This back line means the high line can be risked even more because Mings is a much quicker(of course it depends on how the manager sees him in preseason).

  6. Mad season is here,linked with enough players to make an entire new squad,selling players that got us 7th and then 4th with an European semi final to boot
    For me standing still is wrong,we need a few additional players mainly someone to replace kamara who I think was a hell of a loss,yes he made errors but our record with him in the team was exceptional he made mcginn and especially Luis better players
    Fullbacks are a problem hopefully the Serbian lad fulfills his promise, so for now it would be a leftback required
    So a new defensive midfielder and a leftback would be my main 2 targets with both being physically imposing
    Squad players then a new backup keeper ,olsen record is shocking plus he gives me no genuine faith in him,another centre half ,hermosa would be a cheap fix,barclay does in midfield, that would do unless monchi can aquire a few gems
    Outgoings Chambers donks coutinho olsen and the legend HAUSE any villa player scoring winner at old Trafford deserves a good send off

  7. JG,

    Yes, all very interesting. Saw Villa’s bit to raise the loss-limit was knocked back pretty definitively. Also interesting to see us side with City about owner-linked sponsor deals. Guessing that has to do with Atairos.

    Assuming plans have been made, but it’s going to take some Monchi magic to make the right moves. Much as I’d like to see certain players we’re linked with, I’m not sure how we fund any of the higher-priced moves.

  8. Don’t worry lads. Beaky has got everything well in hand. His London mafia selections are deemed by the London media to be the best players we have.

    Sadly they have demonstrated tonight that they don’t have a scoobie how to beat a parked bus. After the media gave Ollie 5 and Konsa 4.5 a few days ago, tomorrow’s papers should make interesting reading. I’d give Kane 2, Toney 1.5, Saka 2, Ramsdale 2, Rice 3, Guehi 2, Palmer 2, Eze 2 and Beaky 1. Have I been too kind with those scores?

  9. If Villa have a problem with the PSR regs, it will be for the current financial year that ends on June 30th 2024. But we won’t know the figures until perhaps next March. So we only have to watch what happens in the next 3 weeks to know for sure. If we sell anyone, it will need to be before 1st July. If we don’t sell anyone, we should assume the current financial year will be compliant due to the additional income from the Conference games, increased admission charges, higher league position finish, sponsorship etc.

    After 1st July the new financial year will include the Champions League funds and maybe some money will be available for team strengthening. So I’m expecting any new players to arrive after 1st July.

  10. Sounds about right, Plug.

    And tbh, I’m not that fussed about the Luiz/Cash rumors. I think we can do better than Matty, and Luiz is likely replaceable for less, as well.

    I like them both, and they have given their all. No complaints. But Luiz will never be worth more, and to my mind, Villa need a lockdown RB, which Cash isn’t.

    And if Dougie wants a move, I don’t begrudge him. Change of scenery, change of pace, whatever it might be, that’s fine. He’s played a big part in our success, and I’ll wish him the very best if he does go.

  11. England? Dunno…GS seems to find a way to get things wrong. Maybe he’s thinking about the WC more than the Euros, but I think there’s a more stable, cohesive setup available to him.

  12. Will addidas want Luis to go,surely if he goes his girlfriend will go and from what I have read she is the David Beckham of ladies football, one photo of her in new gear will go worldwide

  13. The Premier League have got themselves in a bit of a pickle now. . . . . but do they care?

    In fairness, it is a really tricky situation. How do you enable a well run club that is developing sustainably, and progressing through canny purchasing and superb management and coaching progress. . . . . . whilst preventing some wealthy individual from stepping in and buying their way to success?

    It’s easy to ‘feel’ the difference between what Villa have achieved recently against what the likes of City and Chelsea have been allowed to do with dirty money, but what rules can you set that would allow one and not the other?

    In a previous business I removed all financial targets and incentives, because with the best will in the world, they always have some unforeseen consequences, as a result of smart people finding ways to exploit the targets. You see it all the time with government incentives too. The fields round here are full of felled trees as a result of the government incentivising the improvement of hedgerows. Yes, the hedgerows have been trimmed and relaid, and fences installed alongside, but the effect has been the absolute opposite of that intended, with dramatic reductions in biodiversity instead of the increases that were intended.

    I’m not suggesting that we should remove all rules, as that would have meant that Newcastle would now be top of the league, until some even wealthier country had decided that they wanted to win the league, but right now, as Sawiris has pointed out, they don’t even seem to know how to apply their existing rules.

  14. Everything Nassef states in his Financial Times article is true. Put in plainest of terms, he’s pointing out that the existing cartel in the EPL is securely ringfenced with building blocks in place to protect that situation.

    It’s unfit for purpose in that it goes against fair competition, creates an uneven playing field and sure as night follows day, if it is left unchanged, the sport will subside and become inconsequential. It’s already well down the slippery slope and in need of urgent amendments. But the EPL can’t see it, they just watch the annual income flood in and think it will always be like so. UEFA and FIFA are equally culpable. Oh for the days when a different team won the FA cup each year and Citeh were in the Championship.

  15. That said, right now I’m okay on balance with Barkley, McKinnie and Iling-Junior coming in (+cash) for losing Luiz. I really like Luiz, we all do, but lack of speed and tackling were a bit of a liability, and I’d often get frustrated with him after we turned it over.

    I think it makes us physically stronger, and honestly, watching Ross last season, I’m not sure he’s a downgrade on Luiz. Not the same player, obvs, and no idea where people will be played. But Tielemans, McGinn, and probs Barkley offer a lot of creativity. And if Buendia comes back okay and Emery likes him, I think we’ve obviously gotten deeper while still netting something like £10m-£15m profit.

    Saw someone wondering about Iling-Junior with Ramsey and Rogers already here. Could well mean Ramsey is off, but if nothing else, it offers three players for rotation and injury, etc. That position has a lot of responsibility with the LB bombing forward.

    Saw a lot of Juve fans rather unhappy with those two players going + cash out.

  16. It seems there may be some legs to the following reports:

    Big Jhon to Chelsea.
    Dougie to Juventus.
    Cash to AC Milan.

    We’ll know for sure soon enough.

  17. Plug
    Of above only Duran would disappoint me,think he can be world class but in unai I trust
    Cash good lad but not good enough, Luis never really dominated matches for me,

  18. Plug, yes, Sawari’s interview did highlight that current rules are protecting the ‘top 6’ but the tricky thing, is finding a way of enabling new teams to challenge, whilst not simply opening the floodgates to takeover by nations. Ten years ago, the Newcastle takeover would have resulted in them quickly moving to the top of the pile, but they’re not able to quickly buy themselves success, and that’s a good thing.
    It shouldn’t have come as a surprise, but it was still quite an eye opener to realise that in the whole of the premier league era, apart from the ‘top six’, only 4 clubs have competed in the Champion’s League: Leicester, Blackburn, Newcastle and Leeds. Of those, only Newcastle stands a chance of competing regularly at the top table. That in itself proves that the current rules aren’t working. Sport ‘needs’ unpredictability and whilst the Premier league is the most competitive league in Europe, it’s still protecting a pretty much closed shop at the top table.

  19. Chris Heck has outlined how the club believes that we need to be generating £400m a year in order to consistently compete at the top and that means adding an extra £50m a year to the total for each of the next 3-4 years. That’s quite some challenge but it’s good too see that the club has some very clearly defined goals. Inevitably, some fans are going to be put out at having lost their favoured seats, and I know I’d be pissed off if I was one of them, but I do also respect the single mindedness of the club, now knowing what it needs in order to achieve its objectives, and not being afraid to make some tough decisions, which I’m sure they won’t have taken lightly.
    For the league not to have increased the allowed losses for a club in line with inflation does feel negligent. Maybe they have their reasons, but it comes as no surprise that they feel no imperative at all to inform football fans what their reasons are. What a surprise.

  20. Hello Lifers, been a while. Uncharted waters next season (at least for 40 years but realistically the CL has become a completely different beast) but looking forward with minimal expectations and intending to enjoy the games. All the new players coming in will take time to settle in (Tielemans took half the season) so not a big fan of ‘upgrades’. We need to strengthen of course, would prefer focus on a pair of full backs over the mid field.

    Thoughts on Tammy if Dhuran goes? Don’t see a lot of strikers being linked with us though Monchi likes keeping his cards close to his chest. Archer and Tim will probably go, possibly JJ as well (though I hope he stays). Need to get rid of the fringe – Lenglet, Chambers, they wont make it into the 25 anyway.

    Going to be an interesting window 🙂

  21. JG, you’ll be surprised to hear that I’ll be sorry to see Duran go too, although ‘how’ sorry, will probably depend on the price we get for him.
    There was an interesting interview with Ollie, which gave good insights into how Emery brought him back into the fold and helped him regain his confidence on the pitch. Part of that confidence came from him being told very clearly that HE was our striker. This was backed up by Danny Ings being sold. I guess it would be incompatible for Ollie to be told that he is our main man, whilst still giving Duran the impression that he was going to get a lot of game time so you can’t blame Duran for wanting to try somewhere else. Whether he’s ready to be the main man at Chelsea I’m not convinced, but he of course will think he is. . . . . . yet another big ego for their manager there to deal with though!

  22. Hiya Villalore,
    The Tammy question is an interesting one. He was great for us and you imagine would be able to quickly settle bak into the club and area. I suppose the question is whether he’d fit into Emery’s way of doing things, and again. . . . how the Ollie/Tammy dynamic would work. For a structured, details man, Emery seems surprisingly willing to take a few gambles, and relying on one key striker has been one of them. Judging by how quickly he moved Ings on, would he want to bring in an obvious competitor for Ollie?
    Might Archer be a better bet, as a player would would get some game time and experience but not be an immediate challenger to Ollie?

  23. Hi r0bb0,

    Yeah looks like hes looking for a ticket back home more than Villa considering him a top target. Showing his love for us after 5 years all of a sudden 🙂

    Emery’s system rarely includes two strikers and I doubt experienced ones will be happy sitting on the bench. But it will be a long season with CL, cant rely only on Ollie. Will they move knowing they will get time but only as a second choice? I like Archer but don’t think he’s at the level we need next season. Monchi needs to find us a unknown.

  24. r0bb0,

    It would go a long way, I think. Say the max was £60m/year for any club. Now obviously some will never spend that much, but it would keep big clubs from stockpiling players, and decouple the revenue advantage. Players have to move on to get big paydays, and you have to spread your spend wisely.

    There’d probably need to be some element that includes free transfers and the players getting a big chunk of the fee that wasn’t paid. That would have to count toward salary.

    The NFL is obviously apples to oranges, but there’s a lot of revenue sharing (like all team merchandise sales are split…think that’s still true), and the salary cap forces lots of hard decisions for teams and players alike. There’s other factors like draft order, schedule difficulty, etc., which also level things out. But you see many more teams with a shot at winning the SB in any given season.

    Pretty sure baseball is the only NA sport without a cap, and you can see there that money generally buys titles. The others, it’s mainly astute management and coaching.

  25. Scotland getting run around, typical British performance
    Hopefully this new rule only captain speaks to ref carries on to premier league, rules out Keepers as captain

  26. JG, yes yes yes to only the captain (or his nominee) being able to speak to the referee. Why oh why has it taken them so long to do this when abuse of referees has been so bad and when they’ve seen it working in rugby for years.

  27. . . . and. . . . . it looks as if they’re using technology to help var decisions . . . .oh my goodness. . what on earth made them think of doing that?!

  28. Has Kane touched the ball yet?
    Can you imagine if it was Watkins upfront and what the commentators and media would be saying?

  29. Hanging on against Serbia. Fortunate to get the win I think. Beaky really shows his shortcomings when it comes to substitutions. As R0Bbo says, Kane was not in the game due to a total lack of service. The London media crucified Watkins for a similar amount of touches even though he ran his nuts off occupying the defenders. They’ll give Kane top marks.

    It was clear soon after half time fresh reinforcements were needed because Serbia had brought on fresh legs and taken control. But no response from Beaky. The game was a real slog. A slick cohesive unit we ain’t.

  30. I’m starting to wonder if taking the points penalty would be a better plan than selling some of the best players under duress. Would the financial problem disappear with the points penalty? And would Villa be strong enough to pull back the points lost? After all Everton managed to do it.

  31. Ian, Forest got a 4 point deduction for their PSR transgression. If we took the points deduction punishment, the risk is the damage done. Assuming we won’t be in a relegation scrap. What would 4 points do to our league position? Say it costs us 2 places which equates to about £6 million lost. If those 2 places cost us a European place next season, then a further £20 – £50 million loss happens.

    Selling a couple of players cheap in a fire sale might be more appealing. This is Heck’s conundrum to solve.

  32. Well Plug, I’m glad it’s not me making those decisions. And wouldn’t it be nice if some decent reporting from the media appeared on our screen.

  33. England definitely have enough attacking talent. I’ll maybe watch again more closely (though I think I deleted the recording after) to see what seems to be missing this time around. Had to record, it was late when I got to watch, and I’ll admit I was nodding off second half.

    Trouble with tournament football like this is so many of these players are now well schooled, playing throughout the leagues. No one’s really a slouch at this level. Kind of comes down to the final third, final ball, quality of finishers.

    Then I’ve really noticed from watching Villa and then others how certain patterns of playing out (which are in large part dictated by the opponent’s press) are so common, how buildups and possession look so familiar. Saw a good bit on how Belgium’s double pivot was actually killing space for them, how one player being more advanced would’ve provided more options.

    Then you’ve got the tactics we see over and over. If you’re an underdog, you keep it close first half. Being 0-1 down isn’t insurmountable. Then you step it up, make subs, harass, harry, compress, etc, in the second. It’s all pretty predictable, atm, and lessons have been learned by all the managers.

    England not the only talented side so far to struggle, and it generally has looked the same for others, the in-game dynamics. The only way to really get a stranglehold is going more than one up, coming out fast and making it count. Then it really has to open up.

    You could say the same about every PL game week-in, week-out.

  34. On player sales…no, I don’t like that we’re being forced into it, atm. Clearly not good for us or the game.

    But if that’s what it is, you have to try and find silver linings like some of the other clubs who keep unearthing talent. A big fee at the height of a player’s value, if invested well, can give you numbers without much if any drop-off. All in the scouting and assessment.

    Rogers looks a smart buy, allowing someone else to leave for a lot more, for example. I’ve not been counting the nationality numbers, but Rogers for £15m and selling JJ for £30m-£40m, again, good business, imo, and that net of £15m-£25m allows you to get a more finished player somewhere else.

    Luiz defo seems to want a change of scenery for whatever reason, and if you get two for one plus cash…That can be a positive. Villa just have to like the players.

    Tim couldn’t get a look in so £10m now, yeah that probably helps, and it’s pure profit. If you’re starting Chambers ahead of him, you see him every day in training, and you need to ‘balance the books’, ahem, then it’s a reasonable move. Especially if that would equal a £5m net on bringing Barkley in, who at that price is an absolute steal, the way he was playing. (Not saying like for like on position, but you often have to go with ‘best available’ instead of being forced to overpay to fill a particular need.)

    Bottom line, there’s always someone just as good if not better out there who is going to cost less than your most valuable players. But we’re all scarred because Villa have generally gotten a lot wrong over the years.

  35. It looks like we are collecting LB’s. Seems Ian Maatsen is joining from Chelsea according to BBC website. Only £35 million plus add-ons. PSR? No problem?

  36. With Unai signing a long term contract at Villa, he has obviously been given all the time he needs to develop the team into a permanent top four contender. This theory is backed up by chatter we are hearing about possible incoming players. They are all young which gives the manager time to put his stamp on them and the team will improve as it develops.

    This method of working far outweighs the days when we used to sign players on the downward slope of their careers. I’m guessing Unai will retain a core of mature players in their prime to maintain a competitive advantage but back them up with younger players still developing. Not all these youngsters will come good but if the majority do, then good times are locked in.

  37. Beaky once again, for the umpteenth time, demonstrates his hopelessness at getting the best out of a group of dangerous attacking players. Play a back 4 with 2 holding midfielders in front of them. Sound. Except that Denmark played with 1 man up front all game. And we should have lost the game. Extremely fortunate to get a point.

    Even Shearer was doing his head in at the “tactics”. England fans booing at the continual back passing, this was the worst performance I’ve seen from them for some years. They looked completely lost. Bereft of energy, no pressing, no goal threat. Denmark had all that in spades. It really has to be the end of the line for this coach.

  38. Another few days go by,more incoming players than hot dinners,old George Graham would be happy
    Financial fair play has become a joke,
    England game just finished Southgate ability is shining through imagine Dean Smith looking after this squad of players

  39. The knives are out for Kane in the London media this morning. Beaky is rightfully copping pelters too. But the ones who are really getting away with it are the suits who employed him. They’ve sat on their hands for years, done nothing in the way of finding a competent coach and happily just kept taking their fat salaries. Leeches.

  40. Plug
    Not a bit wonder our kit won’t be ready for a few weeks,
    Other lad from juve
    Young Danish lad
    Serbian fullback
    Young left back from arsenal
    Last 2 were signed in January
    Kinda mad isn’t

  41. Here’s an interesting article, which shows (am I surprised?) that Southgate is good at using words, but we shouldn’t expect them to mean anything:

    It seems that England players as a group, have played an average number of games compared with other countries, so his ‘tired’ excuse, really doesn’t hold water.

    Unless he quickly brings in a decent advisor who is actually able to get the best out of the players, we will fall short again, and he will resign after this tournament, with some lovely words about how it’s now time, for the best of the coutnry blah blah blah.

    Now he’s started blaming the players, his time is clearly up, and he knows it. It’s a sign that he’s feeling the pressure, and he won’t like that and will want to quit.

    Good riddance

    ps. . . . no, I’m not a fan

  42. So. . . .are clubs under ffp pressure are selling homegrown players to each other in order to stay the right side of the rules?

  43. I’m sure they are rObb0. We seem to be trading with clubs under PSR stress. It means some of the valuations will be deliberately low to prevent escalation of the PSR bottom line. If this is so, and clubs have found a way to skirt around the regs, it means that those regs won’t be around much longer as they will be failing in what the authorities have been trying to achieve, protection of the existing status quo. I was always confident Monchi would find a way.

  44. I’m sure you’ve read about the loop hole in FFP. Sell players especially your own for 100% profit and buy players on an amortization of up to 5 years. In not so many words.
    It reminds me of Popeye’s friend Wimpy whose catch phrase is: I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.

  45. Ian, fortunately, we’re able to take advantage of some freshly cooked whoppers.

    You can see why Sawiris was so keen for the FFP rules to be changed. . . . just increasing in line with inflation would have given us another £30m to play with and it’s becoming clear, how big a difference that could have made to us.

    I’m in favour of FFP rules, as without them, Newcastle would have quickly become the new Man City and we’d have gone further down the path towards money being far more important than good management. Unless we go for JC’s suggested wage cap though, I’m not sure how they can ever come up with a set of rules that stop the likes of Saudi Newcastle taking over, whilst still allowing a well managed club like Villa breaking through.

  46. r0bb0, I’m all for a wage cap to make things more equal for all the clubs. It would have to take in all the European teams as well. Not to mention South America too. The MLS has a wage structure but also a skies the limit on, I think, 5 players per team. How else would inter Miami pay for the likes of Messi, Suarez, and Besquets? So not much of a wage cap. Off topic a bit but why is there a parachute payment when a team gets relegated.

  47. Ian, parachute payments were introduced to protect relegated clubs from the financial damage caused by relegation which affected income considerably. Otherwise relegated clubs would need “relegation clauses” in players contracts that reduced their salaries in the event of it happening. Which in turn would affect a promoted club’s chances of securing better players to compete at the higher level.

    According to reports, providing the Dougie transfer takes place as planned by the end of June, Villa are satisfied they’ve complied with the current financial year’s PSR regs. Did we ever doubt there might be an alternative outcome?

  48. Well. . . . I really thought the players were going to come out and fight hard to prove a point.
    Maybe at the start of the second half eh?

  49. Was pretty dire again wasn’t it JG.
    The Emgland players are saying we improved on our previous 2 games. . . That we played more free flowing football. . . That we created more chances.
    That’s not the game I saw
    Slovenia’s keeper had to make 2 saves.

    At least the player’s media training is on point. . . . presumably managed by Alistair Campbell.

  50. It’s the definition of lunacy. If you pick a team that can’t play, then pick it again and again in the hope that things change. No subs Beaky doesn’t have a scoobie how to beat a low block. He should have subbed Trippier with Gordon on the hour. Mainoo for Gallagher at HT. Palmer for Saka after 55 minutes. Instead the plank moves Walker to replace Trippier and brings on TAA at RB. And Ollie would have been a huge upgrade on Kane who seems to want to play behind 6 of his own players. FFS.

  51. Two goals in 4 games if you include Iceland. Think we’ve won about 2 of the last 8 games. We need a coach who can get us attacking. One who can change things during a game when needs arise. One who doesn’t favour his mates or team (Palace). One with tactical acumen. I’m actually staggered we’ve made the last 16.

  52. Plug, you me, and 90% of other England fans would love to have egg on our faces at the end of this tournament, but it’s hard to imagine that happening right now.
    There were ‘at least’ 3 crosses crying for a striker to convert them last night, but Kane wasn’t there. In fairness, he created 2 of those chances, but he can’t be in 2 places at the same. With players like Belingham, Foden and others in the side, why is our striker falling back behind our midfield, as
    Plug pointed out, leaving us without anyone to convert the chances?

  53. Last night, after an England attack, I saw Southgate clapping and shouting well done, well done, keep it going. That summed him up for me.
    He’s like an ineffectual schoolteacher, thinking his main task is to encourage his pupils. . . No Gareth. . . your job is to analyse, have tactical awareness and instruct your players to act on your tactical insights.
    Honestly. . . . . do you really think shouting “well done, well done” is going to influence the course of the match?

  54. Yep, all the jokes about his cautiousness have been aired. I liked the one about wearing gloves, high-vis jacket, hard hat, goggles, ear mufflers and steel toe capped hobbers when mowing the lawn.

    Even if he wins it this time, he’s duck soup. He’s had 8 years with a fantastic salary but he knows the fans have now turned.

  55. As yet, there is no confirmation of Kellyman (or Big Jhon for that matter) going in the opposite direction. And we’re still awaiting news about Dougie.

  56. I’d like to wish Dougie all the best for his future with Juve. We will miss him. Top player and a joy to watch. I have some memorable moments like his missile at Norwich during his first season with us. Scored some great goals at VP too.

    That will hopefully take care of PSR for the 23/24 season. We’ll know for sure early next Jan after the EPL get advanced notice of our financial accounts.

  57. Beaky is clueless. The man suffers from inertia. Where were the subs that were required? Bummer really, he was 1 minute from termination. Extremely lucky to be still in this competition. However, he has now run the same players into the ground due to his “no subs” stance. They won’t be able to raise a gallop against Switzerland but he’ll still pick them. FFS.

  58. Welcome to VP Enzo Barrenechea and Samuel Iling-Junior. You join at exciting times as Unai compiles his squad. Hope you both have successful times here.

  59. Welcome back Ross Barkley. Think you’ll notice a few differences since last time.

    I’m wondering if that’s it for incomings now or is Monchi still working on anything. Guess outgoings will be in the spotlight in the next few weeks.

  60. Plug
    Busy week or weeks for monchi
    Still would like a ready to go defensive midfielder ,our Rodriguez and probably a new rightback unless the Serbian lad is ready to go
    The usual hause Chambers dendonker and coutinho, then a left back has to go
    Loans would expect quite a few

  61. As others have said. . . .all the very best to Luiz. . . he’s made a huge contribution to Villa’s return to the top table and we’re grateful for that.
    Let’s not forget how frustrating he’s also been at times, with his slightly lackadaisical attitude sometimes leading us into trouble.
    On balance though. . . .a key part of our upward trajectory, and we thank him for that

  62. Robbo
    Emery must have a plan without Luiz
    ,he played almost every minute since emery became manager
    It will be tough starting new season without kamara as well

  63. So Barrenechea will take Luiz’ place though he will will need time to settle. With Kamara out, we probably need another DM unless Mcginn fills it temporarily. Tim would have been a good option but he’s gone as well.

    If Diego Carlos leaves as well, would we need another CB? Torres, Konsa starting with Mings (coming back from an injury) is limited options for a long season. Please no more Lenglet.

  64. Will all be very interesting. Saw Jacob is working out with Buendia somewhere sunny, so those two, Iling-Jr, Barrenechea and Ross with Kamara to return (fingers crossed). So, five ‘new’ players with one leaving, and I think we’ve gotten a bit bigger/stronger with Enzo, Ross and Iling-Jr.

    Don’t really count Tim as an outgoing since he was obviously only going to start in an emergency.

    Villalore, agree. Think Ross and Barrenechea are both well suited to a 6 role, maybe Enzo deeper and Ross given more freedom.

    Anyway, seems like reasonably astute business so far given the constraints.

  65. Would guess that we have 9 players certain to start
    Martinez konsa torres maatsen,mcginn tielmens ramsay Bailey and watkins
    Other options are all quite decent too

  66. We now have a lull in transfer proceedings. Monchi will have Unai’s list of outgoing players that he doesn’t want and will be searching for some outlets. Not so easy with outgoings, much easier with incomings.

    With respect to incomings, is Unai now waiting until he gets some pre season under way in order to determine how JJ, Tyro and Emi are looking? If so, we can expect any incoming movement to happen later in the window if such is deemed necessary. As I see it, the exception is Big Jhon who will need to be replaced if he leaves thus keeping alternative formation options open and not to mention insurance in case Ollie gets injured.

  67. For some reason I don’t think Jhon Duran would mind another season with Villa. Regardless of where he goes, if he does, he would most likely be the back up. With the Champions league he would get more minutes with Villa this year with this being his 3rd season. He isn’t as pouty as Chuck was.
    I don’t miss Luiz. As good as he was there was something about him that left me flat.

  68. Must say I’m delighted England have reached the semis. Don’t know how, but they have. In spite of Beaky, not because of him. No subs until after the Swiss score on 75 minutes. Despite it being obvious that a Swiss goal was coming from 65 minutes onwards. He is just running the same group of players into the ground. The 26 man squad has been assembled to carry the kit bags.

    Thought Konsa did a good job. When the Swiss started pushing forward on 65 minutes, it was clear that Ollie for Kane was needed together with fresh legs in midfield. Nope, not in Beaky’s mind. After falling a goal behind it was an unfit Shaw for Konsa. FFS.

  69. James, I disagree with your comment that Beaky keeps winning. He doesn’t. Over the 90 minutes of 5 Euro games he has 1 win and 4 draws against teams that are not exactly world beaters. He’s wasting our talent.

  70. Plug
    I detest Southgate as a manager,but he topped his group got through last 16 and quater finals,he is ticking the box’s
    When you start really analysing euros not one player stands out,for me PEPE was the hero ,41 years of age and he showed all the emotions
    Thank god it only has a week to go and then the real stuff will be warming up to 17th of Aug

  71. It’s been hard to understand why Southgate doesn’t use watkins, the best striker from open play, in the toughest league in the world.
    Well, on social media, apparently Southgate goes by the name of . . . . . . Frem!
    It all makes sense now!

  72. JG, yes we have squeaked through to the semi finals, but it would have been quite an upset if we hadn’t.
    The next game will be the first proper test, but we ‘should’ win it.
    Let’s hope we raise our game to match the better opposition.

  73. Great to see Tyrone,emi and Jacob back in training, Rogers cash moreno all look fit even kamara was in doing gym work
    Emery and monchi have a bit of work getting squad down to looks like 22 man squad for Europe and 25 man squad for premier league

  74. Beaky, you plank. Once Koeman tightened his midfield at HT, even an idiot could see a response was needed. Kane was plodding again, forward passing stopped and on 62 minutes or thereabouts the Dutch had taken control. Hook Kane and Saka and throw on Ollie and Gordon. Instead he waits until 80 minutes but doesn’t go with Gordon, but Palmer and he hooks Foden, our best man FFS.

    He owes Ollie big time but you just know he’ll run with Kane again for the final. First half, the change in tactics (at last) worked. Although it was never a peno for me. Very fortunate there.

    Pleased for Ollie, he has been abused by this national coach who somehow has seen his crew reach the final. Don’t ask me how.

  75. Villa had a matching clause in the Bidace transfer that meant we had to be allowed to match any future offer for him. Reports say it has been invoked by Villa. This is excellent work by Monchi who put the clause in for insurance purposes. It also suggests to me that perhaps PSR regs were known to be a problem and his sale was forced on us. If the sale price is cheap, we can bid for him back, alternatively the suiters will need to up their purchase offers and that increases our cut of the sale.

  76. Wow. . . .I’ve never seen so much positive press about a Villa player, and how well deserved.
    I thought Watkins interview last night was very well measured. He refused to criticise Southgate, but it was clear that he felt he should have been used more, frequently and earlier in games, and let’s face it, everyone apart from Southgate (is he really frem?) could see it too.

    It’s been lovely reading about his career, work ethic, character, and how it all led to last night. He clearly feels he should have been part of the England set up before now (as he so clearly should) and that he should have been brought on earlier last night (as he so clearly should) but what shone through for me is the deep seated confidence that he now has in his own ability. It’s been lovely to also hear him talking about how much his game has been developed by Emery and how he feels that he still has more to learn from our manager.
    Of course there’ll be transfer talk, with him now clearly being worth over £100m, but I truly believe his head is not for turning and Emery will be working out how to best provide for him with our new squad next season.

  77. I do hope that Jhon Duran and / or his advisors, are reading some of the Watkins media and taking it in, as there could hardly be a greater contrast between the players. Ollie is showing how hard work, and a team ethic can eventually win out, even when the manager of your National side unfortunately has his own personal agendas. There may be a place for a degree of bluster and self confidence, but sometimes it can be counter productive to a player’s development. Chukwuemeka is one recent Villa example, and Duran, if he went to Chelsea may well be another. Having said all that, West Ham may well suit him, and £40m may well suit us.

  78. With us having reached our second successive final and our first on overseas soil, It’s time for a few of us to review our views about Southgate.
    Ok. . . . done that.
    He is not getting the best out of his squad.
    He HAS got lucky this tournament, with an easy group followed by last gasp goals, plus a very dodgy penalty.
    Napoleon called for lucky generals and maybe we have one in Southgate, in which case, let’s hope his luck holds for one more game.
    He didn’t deserve to win last night although I suspect he thinks it was all down to him.
    In the first half, both my wife and I commented on a run Foden made at the Dutch defence. The reason we commented on it was because it stood out. We then saw some other runs from English players. This is what they do for their clubs and was desperately lacking from England’s earlier games. These runs were not coming from Kane because he’s unfit and slow. . . .there’s no way on earth he could have made Ollie’s run last night.
    Don’t try telling me is was all part of Southgate masterplan to suppress player’s natural skills until the semi final. . . .I’m not buying it.
    Anyway. . . . .let’s look forward to the final with hope.
    Southgate won’t put his best team on the pitch from the start, but let’s hope the players he does put out will do well enough that it’s not too late for the substitutions to make a difference this time.

  79. Anyone notice how far and how fast the media pendulum has swung? Journalists who were denigrating Southgate suddenly thinking ‘oh shit. . . .I could be left with egg on my face here’ and now claiming that Southgate is some sort of genius.
    No. . . . .he’s still just a very naughty boy

  80. Have to agree with everything you say RobbO. Beaky is EXTREMELY lucky to be in the final. My missus has been buying the eggs to throw in my face and she’s started baking an enormous humble pie. I may be in trouble. Hope I am.

    The Laandan media are more fickle than the fans. They’re positively gushing over Ollie’s “wonder” goal, something we’ve seen plenty of times with the Villa and know it’s in his locker. Only a plank would select Kane over him for the final.

    But if I do cop it from the missus, I’ll still have vivid memories of Kane plodding around the edge of his own area, paper planes flying onto the pitch at Wembley, lack of substitutions, back 4 and double pivot in front of them against Denmark who played 1 man up front all game and a long list of boring defensive footie straight out of Spud’s manual.

  81. Looks like Callum Chambers is transferring to Cardiff permanently. No idea if there is a fee involved, but as he was a freebie when we signed him, there should not be any effect on our PSR status. The reduction in salary will be helpful though.

  82. Emery not messing about
    Bidace returns and then my monster midfielder onana from Everton for just 50m,unreal think that’s 8 new faces already in 5 out

  83. I have no complaints about the result. The best team won. A cup final is all or nothing, you have to have a go. We didn’t in true Beaky style. Hope he falls on his sword now so that we can get a more offensive game plan for our fine attackers.

    The players are knackered due to his lack of squad use. His selections leave much to be desired. Kane and Saka very poor. It could have been a final for the ages but once more, we were overrun in midfield. That’s down to formation and selections.

  84. I agree with all that Plug. We had the most fortunate of runs to the final and were then found out. Yes, we ‘could’ have won it but when you’re set up to only have 30% of the possession, it’s often an indication that your manager thinks that the opposition are the better side and that you need a lucky break in order to win.
    So assuming that Southgate now resigns (he will won’t he?), who comes next.
    Id been struggling to think who would be a good replacement, but talking to a Newcastle supporting friend, he said that the talk on the Tyne is that Eddie Howe is likely to be the next England manager. As soon as he said that, I thought ‘yes. . . now there’s a manager who will know how to use these players’
    It’s all down to Southgate’s ego now.

  85. What did everyone think of Bellingham’s performances? He’s clearly extremely talented, but he acts, and talks like a player who believes that it’s all down to him. He reminded me of Douglas Luis at times, sauntering around and being caught out on the ball. . . .just a bit too casual, but then with flashes of brilliance. After the final whistle, he was going round consoling every player, as if he thought it was his role as senior player… . . it just felt a bit odd to me.
    I know he’s only young still, but I wish he’d just try and act like ‘one of the team’.
    (oh. . . . and I do feel uncomfortable with his frequent diving and cheating too)

  86. Is Watkins now England’s number one striker, or should a fully fit Kane still have that role? I wasn’t sure what role Kane was playing throughout the tournament, as a number of times, balls came across the box that were calling out for a striker, but that’s not he job he’d been given (or the one he wanted to take on). I assume that Southgate recognised that he had huge goalscoring talent in his midfield, so gave them fluid roles and was hoping that they would all chip in with goals, which did happen to some extent.
    Watkins has been properly noticed by the media now though so it will be more difficult for the New England manager (surely?) to ignore him.

  87. Was enjoying some time in the mountains fly-fishing and trying to keep up with the footie.

    Real shame about the Final. I thought they’d make it through to extra time at least. What’s frustrating (as we all know) is that there’s more talent in the side than there seems to be on display. The whole is less that the sum of its parts.

    I understand the tournament tactics and approach, and he has got the team to two consecutive finals. Can’t take that away. Should give a boost to the entire set-up.


    As everyone says, England could’ve played like the Netherlands first half more often and certainly to start games. Subs can and should come on earlier. More rotation in the group stages. Stick with a general overall side. No point bringing along Toney, Eze, Gordon and then barely let any see the pitch. And if they aren’t firing in two years’ time, hell six months, they’ll be out again like Ollie has been treated, and you don’t just build out a bigger squad that way.

    He also needs to sort the midfield balance, and it’s time to revamp the back line (age, if nothing else). I’m fine with a settled starting XI. You need that. But as has been said, you’ve got to let the players do what they do at the highest levels for their clubs.

    Two years’ time, I don’t think Kane can be leading the line. He can take the Muller path and become a late sub if chasing.

    Anyway, lots of disappointment for being so close again (even if they had the easiest route). Thought they were credible against Spain, there’s just more to unlock.

  88. Also, I understand as a manager it’s hard to move away from your preferred XI…But in a tournament especially, I think it’s good to offer up some unexpected changes. Get Gordon and Palmer on at the same time, maybe even start them in a group stage game, scare teams from both sides.

    The players are there to basically play two different systems, and I think fresh fast players ought to be given a good look in upcoming games.

    Also, I have to agree about Bellingham, and he and Saka do illustrate the manager’s dilemma. I thought both should’ve come off before they went and scored. You know they have those special moments in them. But a lot of the time Jude felt a little like dead weight. You’d see the flashes of brilliance, but then seems like he’d gone missing for large spells and wasn’t always making great decisions, trying to do too much.

    Easy quibbles to have, there’s lots of pressure. But I heard it said more than once that players (and a team) take on the manager’s personality, and (novel observation alert!) you can always see the caution in England’s play. And if they were knackered by a day’s less rest, you have to account for that.

    For example, start Ollie, Palmer and Gordon. Play some variation of a 4-3-3. Let them run and press like mad, really take it to the opposition. Try to get that early goal, then sub in the older heads. If Villa can beat Arsenal (twice), England can beat Spain.

    Easy for me to say, but I’m sure it would’ve surprised Spain and given them entirely different problems to solve on an hour’s notice. But of course that’s a big throw of the dice, and you can understand why GS wouldn’t do it.

    End of the day, if Emery had been in charge these last four years, I think England would’ve been lifting the trophy.

  89. My take on Southgate is that he’s now been in post for 8 years. That’s a long time and he’s showing signs of becoming stale. The England fans have picked up on this which in turn has led to dissatisfaction at watching the same fare served up during that period. The majority believe as John says above that the sum of the parts is more than the whole on show. We have some dangerous attackers to pick from but he’s not attack minded. Getting to Wembley (never mind Berlin) is a hassle, expensive and time consuming. The attraction being the best players on display. But we then see the lack of a system to break down defensive opposition in qualifiers. Tremendous players looking lost and under performing. It’s down to the man in charge.

    I’d personally like to see someone like Howe at the helm. He may not want the job but we need a manager in that mould. When Erikson came in we’d just lost a world cup qualifier at home to Germany and Keegan resigned immediately afterwards citing that he felt a little short at that level. The return leg in Germany ended 1-5 to England. We need this kind of change now.

    But on matters closer to home……our first warm up game is at Walsall in 48 hours time. How time flies.

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