Larsson for Davies: Who Gets the Better Deal?

January 27, 2011 by · 5 Comments
Filed under: Transfer News 

An inevitable transfer story was leaked today after interest from Birmingham in Curtis Davies was confirmed. With Villa having previously shown an interest in Blues midfielder Seb Larsson, a part exchange deal seems favourable for both clubs. From what I can tell, and have heard the offer that City accepted from Newcastle for Larsson was £1m with player’s value dropping significantly with his contract expiring in the summer. The move to the Toon fell through after the Swede failed to agree terms although it is almost certain that Larsson will leave the club in the summer, if not in January. Curtis Davies was set to rejoin Leicester on loan a few days back but his head was turned by Premier League interest from Birmingham and the defender is believed to be keen on the controversial move. Davies was touted to be available for around £2.5m which has led many, myself included, to believe that a player plus £1.5m move is being made by Birmingham. If this is the case then I would be pretty happy with that from a Villa perspective. Larsson is a decent, versatile player with a sweet left foot as well as a deadly set-piece and although and although I wouldn’t place him in a starting XI, the 25-year-old would be a valuable squad player. The Swedish international can play on either flank as well as in an emergency full-back role and would provide decent cover for the likes of Downing, Albrighton and Young. Davies, also 25, is clearly fed up with life at Villa Park and wants out. He was a good centre-back and is very young in terms of his position so still has the potential to be decent again but he hasn’t been at his best for some time and it is undoubtedly time for him to move on. I think that £2.5m in cash would be fairly cheap for a defender who was touted for greatness early in his career but from what I have heard from Leicester fans, they didn’t rate him either. A deal to bring in Larsson along with cash is very appealing in my opinion and I’m sure Houllier will favour that option so I think that Villa get the better deal on the basis that City lose a good player and have to part with cash. However, I do think the Blues could do worse in replacing the injured Scott Dann and as long as he never scores against Villa I’m not really bothered!

Villa Linked to Juan Pablo Angel Lookalike Matri

January 26, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Transfer News 

TalkSport claim that Villa are in competition with Premier League rivals Everton for Cagliari striker Alessandro Matri. Houllier continues to be linked with forward reinforcements despite the signing of Darren Bent after John Carew left the club for Stoke on loan. 26-year-old Matri was a late starter at top flight level after learning his trade at AC Milan. He made just the one appearance for the Italian giants before switching Serie A for Serie B in loan spells with the likes of Prato, Lumezzane and Rimini. Impressive performances at the lower level earned him a move back to the top level of Italian football with Cagliari in a deal which saw David Suazo join Milan. In 123 games in all competitions for Cagliari started slowly, having scored 12 in his first two seasons (65 games). Last season was his most profitable, scoring 13 times in 38 games and setting up 7. This year his goals to minutes ratio has improved having scored 9 goals in 18 starts (21 total) at a rate of 1 every 178 minutes (under 2 games). In my opinion he bares a striking resemblance to former Villa favourite Juan Pablo Angel but that could just be me! Haven’t heard of this guy in all honesty, or of a price but thought I’d report the link and scrub up on his stats!

Villa to Rejuvenate Jenas Interest

January 26, 2011 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Transfer News 

Tottenham midfielder has once again been linked with a move to Villa Park in what seems to be a highly recycled rumour from the Martin O’Neill era. The England international has struggled to hold down a starting place at Spurs for a number of seasons now and has seen his chances limited further by arrivals of the likes of van der Vaart and Pienaar this season. The former Nottingham Forest and Newcastle man was bought by Tottenham in 2005 for £7m and has played 21 times for his country, scoring 1 goal, the first under Fabio Capello’s reign. However it is believed that Jenas is getting increasingly frustrated at a lack of first team opportunities and joins the likes of Niko Kranjcar and Wilson Palacios on the fringes of the London club’s starting line-up. Add to this the previous signings stated along with Luka Modric and Tom Huddlestone and the club have 7 centre midfielder’s vying for 2 or 3 positions. It has been suggested that Redknapp will want to recoup all of the £7m spent 5 years ago which I would say is overpriced with rumours also circulating around a move for as much as £10m. He has started 9 of his 12 Premier League appearances this term but is yet to score or assist this campaign. In his entire time at Tottenham he has played 183 games in all competitions, scoring 23 goals at a rate of 1 every 627 minutes (7 matches). One player that is not going to make the switch from Spurs to Villa is Crouch who Redknapp confirmed was not for sale. So Villa are seemingly interested in another centre midfielder. After buying Makoun do we really need another and if so is Jenas of the calibre that you think could improve the side?

Birmingham to Scupper Foxes Hunt for Davies

January 26, 2011 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Transfer News 

After reporting that Curtis Davies was set to rejoin Leicester on loan, movement has been made by a top flight club believed to be Birmingham City today. Davies confirmed reports that he was rejoining Leicester City on loan until the end of the season on his twitter page, having spent a short spell with the Championship club prior to the New Year. The 25-year-old tweeted ‘En route to Leicester to re-join Sven’s revolution!’, an account which also bares the bio ‘Aston Villa centre back (well sort of!) LOL’. However, the Midlands outfit have since revealed that Davies is unlikely to join the club due to interest, on a permanent transfer basis, from a Premier League club. Davies has made no secret of wanting to stay in the Premier League and Sky sources have claimed that the potential Premier League bidders are fierce rivals Birmingham City. A move to the Blues would not really enhance many of the Villa fans opinion of the defender after he was outspoken of his frustration under O’Neill and since under Houllier’s current regime. Despite having been vocal in his displeasure at the club and angering some of the supporters, Davies had a case, having been a consistent performer prior to a shoulder injury at the beginning of last season. The defender’s highest form saw him reach the fringes of the senior England squad but a fall from grace at Villa Park is set to see him leave the club in a highly controversial switch to City in a bid to slash the wage bill. How do you rate Davies? Is he right to feel that he has been treated unfairly or is he deadwood which needs offloading?

3 Points Off Europe: Too Naive to Dream?

January 26, 2011 by · 3 Comments
Filed under: Match Reports 

Aston Villa achieved their first back-to-back wins of the season away at Wigan in a game which brought changes to the successful line-up against Man City including debuts for youngster Nathan Baker and new recruit Jean Makoun. Their arrivals came at the expense of the absent Ciaran Clark and the benched Marc Albrighton who was rested along with Stiliyan Petrov with Nigel Reo-Coker also getting a start. Gabby Agbonlahor’s unmissable one yard header was his first goal in the league this season, giving the visitors an early second half lead. Ashley Young was brought down in the box by Hendry Thomas and duly dispatched the resulting penalty kick with a fierce drive straight down the middle. A huge deflection took James McCarthy’s shot from range into the bottom corner after slack closing down on the edge of the box to create a nervy last 10 minutes. Villa just about managed to hold on for their first back-to-back wins of the season, taking them 6 points clear of relegation into 13th, just 3 points off a possible European spot in 7th, currently occupied by Blackburn. Extended Match Report

Villa vs Wigan Line-ups: Shock Baker Inclusion for Villa

January 25, 2011 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Aston Villa 

Nathan Baker has received a surprise call up to the Villa starting XI after a late absentee of Ciaran Clark at left back. The youngster makes his first senior appearance tonight and there is also a debut for new signing Jean Makoun. Stiliyan Petrov drops to the bench after picking up a knock to his knee last time out so Reo-Coker partners the new man in the middle. Agbonlahor retains his place ahead of Marc Albrighton who has to settle for a place on the bench. Match winner from Saturday and record signing Darren Bent keeps out the returning Emile Heskey.

Aston Villa: Friedel, Cuellar, Dunne, Collins, Baker, Makoun, Reo-Coker, Downing, Agbonlahor, Bent, A Young. Subs: Marshall, Pires, Albrighton, Delfouneso, Heskey, Petrov, Herd.

Wigan: Al Habsi, Gohouri, Boyce, Steven Caldwell, Figueroa, McArthur, McCarthy, Thomas, N’Zogbia, Di Santo, Rodallega. Subs: Pollitt, Watson, Moses, Gomez, Diame, Stam, McManaman.

Pompey Win Hogg Race

January 25, 2011 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Transfer News 

Last year’s Premier League bottom club Portsmouth have secured the loan signing of Jonathan Hogg until the end of the season, fending off interest from Championship rivals Leeds and Middlesbrough in the process. The 22-year-old’s Villa, and indeed football career, was in serious doubt in recent times after sustaining a string of serious injuries. However, a loan spell at Darlington last term and impressive performance in the reserves were enough to see Houllier bring Hogg into the starting XI at Villa Park due to injury absences of Reo-Coker and Petrov. He made his league debut against Manchester United in the 2-2 draw, catching the eye with an assured and tireless display. Since then the no-nonsense defensive midfielder has continued to remain unfazed at the top level though returns from injuries and the signing of Jean Makoun have limited his chances at Villa Park. His decent early form was enough to earn him a new long-term contract with the club and now he will head south for what will hopefully be a valuable run in first team football at a highly competitive level. Houllier was keen to praise the midfielder and hopes that the new deal will be of benefit for both parties, stating: “Jonathan has competed very well in the games he has played this season and this loan move will greatly assist in his career development.”

Keepers: One In, One Out?

January 25, 2011 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Transfer News 

Aston Villa’s reserve keeper Brad Guzan has extended his loan spell at Hull City after impressing in a short spell at the in recent weeks. The American has made four league appearances for the Tigers and will now stay with the Championship outfit until the end of February. In his four games with Hull, Guzan has conceded four goals, picking up one clean sheet in the 2-0 home win over Barnsley. Guzan will have been hoping to impress Houllier since the manager’s arrival but has featured just once under the Frenchman in his first game as boss, the 3-1 League Cup victory over Blackburn. It seems the 26-year-old hasn’t sufficiently proved to his manager that he can replace compatriot Brad Friedel in the long-term with Houllier on the look out for new targets.

One of those targets is believed to be 23-year-old, England Under-21 international stopper Joe Lewis. Villa were rumoured to have had a £400k offer rejected by Lewis’ League One employers Peterborough, with chairman Barry Fry branding their offer as ‘crazy’. After hearing of Houllier’s interest Lewis submitted a transfer request and it is believed that Villa are set to up their efforts in signing 6’5″ stopper. He is one of a number of young English keepers, along with Scott Loach and Jason Steele, to have been touted with a move to Villa Park. The highlight of the highly rated youngsters career is undoubtedly a shock call-up to the senior England squad due to an injury crisis, though Lewis remained as an unused substitute for the friendlies against Trinidad & Tobago and the USA.

Agbonlahor Set to Suffer from Bent Buy?

January 24, 2011 by · 4 Comments
Filed under: Hot topic debates 

Gabby Agbonlahor has had a disappointing campaign for Villa this term in a season which began with injury and a lengthy lay-off with a groin injury. Despite returning to fitness the striker has failed to score in the Premier League this season in over 1000 minutes of action. The 24-year-old did net one in the Europa Cup Qualifying Round and another to extend on a decent record against Birmingham in the League Cup but has struggled in front of goal all season. His lack of goals has led Houllier to look to alternative options for the rapid frontman who has recently been moved onto the left wing. Martin O’Neill adopted a similar strategy upon joining the club, deploying Agbonlahor in a wide right position to decent effect. Agbonlahor has clearly worked on his delivery and his crossing has improved. His pace is an obvious asset for any winger but he lacks the flair of Albrighton or Young, adopting a more gun-ho approach. With the club having recently completed the record signing of Darren Bent, could Agbonlahor’s chances become limited without goals in his locker. Houllier is a huge fan of Emile Heskey who has been in outstanding goalscoring form compared to his usual self. Heskey has scored a goal every 150 minutes in all competitions with a record far superior to that of Agbonlahor. With Carew already forced out by the marquee signing of Bent I feel that Gabby may have to settle for a place on the bench soon if his form doesn’t pick up. If he were to play on the wing he still isn’t hitting the same sort of form of Albrighton and Downing so I feel he may miss out against Wigan with the arrival of Makoun and return of Heskey further increasing competition for places. I would have to say that a partnership of Bent to play off Heskey, a man who has benefited the likes of Rooney and Owen in games for England and Liverpool respectively, would be a more profitable one than that of Bent and Agbonlahor, which would no doubt offer one of the quickest strike forces in the league but could be somewhat one-dimensional. Who do you think should be the starting strike partnership? Do you feel that the current system of a lone striker should stay in place, further limiting the chances of the likes of Agbnonlahor?

Villa to Worsen Wigan Woes? Makoun in Line for Debut

January 24, 2011 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Match Previews, Pre-Match Predictions 

Gerard Houllier will be hoping record signing Darren Bent can build on his debut winner over Man City with another goalscoring display against fellow strugglers Wigan. Villa’s win against City and more importantly a clean sheet over one of the league’s most potent attacking forces, served as a real boost to the club’s survival hopes and left Villa fans wondering how far the side can go with the new signings in place. Bent’s fellow new arrival Jean Makoun was presented to the fans at Villa Park last time out and is in line to feature against Wigan after being granted international clearance. Back-to-back wins is feat that the club has not achieved all season but Villa must see this as a fantastic opportunity to correct this and improve on a dismal away record this term. Roberto Martinez will be hoping his side can bounce back from a convincing 3-0 defeat to Arsenal at the weekend in an astonishingly one sided encounter. Houllier will be hoping that Wigan’s key men Hugo Rodallega, Charles N’Zogbia and Myanor Figueroa, who have all been linked to the club will not rain on his 3-day parade! Extended Match Preview

« Previous PageNext Page »