It has been confirmed that American midfielder Michael Bradley, son of national team coach Bob, has signed for Villa on loan from Borussia Monchengladbach until the end of the season. It is believed that there is an option to buy the 23-year-old once the loan spell expires. In terms of players leaving the club, the signing of Michael Bradley has ensured Stephen Ireland a like-for-like move to Newcastle. Ireland will also be on loan until the end of the season but Villa manager Gerard Houllier said that the door remains open for the Irishman at Villa Park. Finally, Stephen Warnock’s mooted return to Liverpool has come to a stand still. It appears that the left back will have to endure a miserable few months at Villa after Gerard Houllier confirmed that he wanted to leave. The Frenchman has stated that he will show preference to those players who are 100% committed to the club even if they are not natural left backs, i.e. Clark, Baker, Walker and Luke Young. To read Gerard Houllier and Michael Bradley’s quotes upon joining Villa along with Newcastle manager Alan Pardew’s opinion on the capture of Stephen Ireland click here
Filed under: Match Previews, Pre-Match Predictions
Aston Villa will be hoping to go one better in tomorrow’s clash with Manchester United after going 2-0 up in the home tie earlier in the season. A young Villa side were flying and well on top of the league’s top club at Villa Park but surrendered their lead in the final 10 minutes to throw away goals by Ashley Young (pen) and Marc Albrighton. United captain Rio Ferdinand revealed that he the Villa side he faced on the day were the best outfit his team had come against all season. Alex Ferguson’s men haven’t looked back since and have stretched their lead at the top of the table due to a dismal run from early leaders and current champions, Chelsea. On the injury front, all looks fairly rosy for Houllier’s side with only Luke Young and the possibly departing Stephen Ireland still on the sidelines. To read the extended match report click here
Finally, Villa’s talismanic part-time captain Ashley Young will in no uncertain terms be staying with the club, for the meantime at least. In a press conference this morning Villa manager Gerard Houllier stated that there was no way the 25-year-old would be leaving amid reported renewed interest from Liverpool. It had been mooted that Young would be a target of the Anfield club were the deal for Fernando Torres to join Chelsea go through having already seemingly been eager to reinvest in the likes of Luis Suarez and potentially Andy Carroll. Villa’s French boss refuted claims that a bid had been made for his star man, stating, “I can confirm that Ashley is a highly-rated player and highly liked by everyone at Aston Villa. No way is he going to leave.” The recent transfer rumours have surrounded the England international as his contract expires in 18 months. After previously seeming keen to renew his deal, Young through his Villa future in doubt by revealing that he would not be opening contract discussions until the end of the current season.
Outgoings remain uncertain with the likes of Stephen Ireland and Warnock both wanting out. It had seemed that the players were close to securing loan deals but impending switches are rumoured to have hit problems. Newcastle seemed set to sign midfielder Ireland on loan after the Irishman’s future at the club was cast into further doubt by the interest in Bradley. However, the Toon have had more pressing issues on their mind having fielded crazy offers from Liverpool for Andy Carroll, up to £40m making Darren Bent’s initial £18m rising to £24m look a real snip. Ireland’s proposed move is apparently due to a complication with the player’s medical which was thought to have been passed. The 24-year-0ld hasn’t played since the New Year after suffering from a knee injury and it seems this may be affecting a transfer.
In regards to Stephen Warnock, a touted switch to former club Liverpool has been long-running. After the Reds agreed to allow Paul Knocheskey to move on it was thought that Warnock would tie up a deal with Dalglish’s side, but similarly to Newcastle’s situation, the club have more important issues to resolve including that of Carroll but also star striker Fernando Torres. It was reported that Villa had blocked a return to Anfield for the full-back but it then seemed that Villa dropped their demands for a fee in return for a six-month loan. Gerard Houllier has confirmed that Warnock wants out and said that as long as this is the case, even if he did not get a move, he would prefer more committed options in the left-back position. It is believed that the likes of Clark, Baker, Luke Young and Walker would all be above Warnock in the pecking order following the England international’s fall from grace after a disappointing first half to the season. Both of these deals could still be finalised as of yet but it seems it’s all up in the air at the moment.
The main news surrounding the club on deadline day should see USA international midfielder bolster Gerard Houllier’s ranks on a six-month loan deal. The deal could potentially become permanent if the 23-year-old impresses but it is now believed that Bradley has passed his medical and will make the switch from Gladbach within the next hour or so. Other than that on the incoming front there seems to be very little action from a Villa perspective. Early rumours that grew from yesterday suggesting that the club were to bring in a centre-back before the deadline have since been quashed. Reports suggested that Villa would look to make a shock bid to tempt Christopher Samba away from Blackburn but that has been confirmed as a no-go. Other speculation surrounded the Bosnian captain Emir Spahic, who can also play left-back. The Montpellier missed their last game but that was down to suspension for a horrible foul on fellow supposed Villa target and Brest striker, Nolan Roux.
Villa are widely tipped to secure a loan deal for American midfielder Michael Bradley from Gladbach for the rest of the season so I thought I should really scrub up on the 23-year-old set to become Villa’s fourth US import. Interestingly the name Bradley links two of the current three with only Eric Lichaj spoiling the fun of having American’s Bradley Friedel, Bradley Guzan and now, potentially Michael Bradley. Michael is son of Bob, the US national team head coach who was hotly linked to the Villa job before Gerard Houllier. It was expected that if he were to join the club, the manager would have brought his son along to the club, and now it seems Michael is ready to make the move. Many will say this is merely another move by Randy Lerner, American, to showcase the nations talents in the Premier League but Bradley is a real prospect and is highly regarded in the US, often amongst the same breath as the likes of Landon Donavon and Clint Demspey. So here’s a little lowdown of some of the stats that you should know about the midfield man. I must stress that this is not a done deal yet, but is expected to go through in the next two days! Bradley Stats
According to reports in the US and on ESPN, Villa have signed centre midfielder Michael Bradley on loan for the rest of the season from German side Gladbach. Bradley, 24, is the son of Bob Bradley the national team coach who was linked to the job before Houllier was employed and is touted as one of the best USA players in recent years along with Landon Donavon and Fulham’s Clint Dempsey. More on this as it happens but looks like a very decent signing, squad player maybe but I know that in America he is very highly regarded, admittedly not too tricky but looks a good player. Plays the simple game well, much like Makoun but has also has a good range of passing and fantastic box to box energy. I’ll add an extensive profile after the game today! 3-1 at half time by the way, goals from Clark, Pires and Delfouneso. UTV!
A suspected return to Anfield for Villa full-back Stephen Warnock is apparently being blocked by Aston Villa who the Guardian claim, are asking for £500k in return for a loan agreement until the end of the season and for the player’s wages to be paid in full. Kenny Dalglish is searching for left back’s with Paul Konchesky set for a return to Fulham and being awful and all. Warnock has fallen massively out of favour amid reports that he is somewhat of a ‘bad egg’ in the Villa dressing room. Add to that some really terrible form in the first half of the season and the England international has fallen behind the likes of centre back Ciaran Clark and debutant Nathan Baker as well as probably Brad Friedel. Houllier has come across as a somewhat unforgiving man when it comes to dropping and recalling players, with only Richard Dunne able to force his way back after being benched. Warnock joins the likes of Stephen Ireland and John Carew in seemingly being ousted from the club with the big Norwegian having joined Stoke on loan earlier this month. Carew claimed that Houllier had given him the cold shoulder, to which the manager replied, “I don’t want to say anything about John Carew, and that is to his advantage.” Ooooh! Get you Mr Houllier.
Blackburn Rovers visit Villa Park tomorrow in the FA Cup fourth round, a cup fixture which is getting a little boring now don’t you think. This season Villa knocked Rovers out of the League Cup in Gerard Houllier’s first game in charge in a 3-1 home win. However, Blackburn got their revenge in the league fixture at Ewood Park later in the season with a 2-0 win via a Morten Gamst Pedersen and a day to forget for Brad Friedel. The former Rovers keeper struggled with crosses all game, culminating in a free-kick from the wing which sailed straight over his head from the Norwegian international. Villa will be hoping to get one up on Steve Kean’s side once again and progress to the fifth round of their only cup hope for this season. On top of that a win would be their third in succession and stretch an unbeaten run to 5 games in all competitions. Extended Preview and Team News
Curtis Davies has completed his move to second city rivals Birmingham pending a medical today in a deal believed to be worth up to £2.5m. It had been hotly expected that Seb Larsson would move to Villa as part of the deal but this has been confirmed by Villa as very unlikely in this transfer window. Larsson is out of contract in the summer and Villa are believed to have spoken to the player with regards to a move but most likely in the summer window as opposed to now, hence being able to ask more money straight up for Davies. If it pays off it could be a clever bit of business to get a bit more money for Davies, thought to be £1m (Larsson’s supposed worth), with the potential of signing the Swede on a free later in the year. The deal for Davies is speculated to be worth an initial fee of £1.75m with a further £750k in potential add-ons, one of which may well be whether City stay up this season. Davies will join fellow Villa players who were unsuccessful at retaining a first team place at Villa Park in Liam Ridgewell and Craig Gardner. The 25-year-old is believed to have put pen to paper on a three-and-a-half year deal, acting as cover for Scott Dann who will miss the rest of this campaign. I would wish a departing player luck for the future but that can’t be done in a move to the Blues!