Quoted: Bent Hopes For Strike Partner Stay

March 28, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
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“Ashley has been playing really, really well this season and being linked to top, top sides.

“It’s because of the form he is showing like against Wales that all these clubs are after him.

“He was fantastic and it helps me that he is also in the Villa side.

“The main thing is we can keep going, hang onto him for as long as possible and keep creating the chances for Villa and scoring goals.”

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Revolt Avoided? Media Suggest Villa Won’t Have Any Players 11/12

March 28, 2011 by · 4 Comments
Filed under: Hot topic debates, Transfer News 

After pretty ludicrous reports saw practically every senior Villa player linked with a move away from the club after suggestions that Gerard Houllier had overhauled the rules at Villa Park, I took stock of all of those who have been touted to move on and those who are most likely to. Either way, pending the club avoid relegation (fingers, toes and hearts crossed) the summer is going to be a busy one for the Villa fans to look forward to, or dread depending on your perspective! Speculation arose that as many as eight players were looking elsewhere in a supposed revolt against the Houllier regime however, Brad Friedel, one of the aforementioned eight, has rubbished the talk since. The American is one of those perhaps most likely to leave in the summer with Houllier yet to offer the soon to be 40-year-old a new contract over age concerns. Saying that the club resigned Andy Marshall at the end of last week, the 35-year-old keeper who has never played a game for the club. In my opinion this probably means that Friedel will be gone with the club having already selected a veteran to help the youngsters at the club such as Elliot Parish, who recently joined Lincoln on loan. Full XI of Likely Leavers?

Benitez to Replace Houllier Again, This Time at Villa?

March 26, 2011 by · 3 Comments
Filed under: Hot topic debates 

I’m otherwise engaged this weekend guys but I just wanted to get your opinions on reports that suggest Villa are lining up Liverpool’s replacement for Gerard Houllier, Rafa Benitez, to replace the Frenchman at Villa Park. The Spaniard was adored for much of his time at Liverpool despite an inability to get the Reds back in the league title mix. Benitez did however, win the Champions League with Liverpool, a feat which seems pretty spectacular now. However, having replaced Houllier that season, the former Valencia boss was working with an almost entirely Houllier made team, much of whom accredited the controversial Frenchman for their success. Benitez most recently failed to emulate the success of Jose Mourinho at Inter Milan, and was sacked by the Italian giants less than a year after taking the job. If Houllier were to go would this be a good replacement? I’m a believer in Martin Jol or, a long shout, but I’d love to see someone like Gus Poyet given the chance, mad idea?

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Quoted: Redknapp Won’t be Tempted by Touted £10m Walker Offer

March 24, 2011 by · 1 Comment
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Spurs manager Harry Redknapp has refuted speculation that he may be willing to let young protégée right-back Kyle Walker leave for Villa on a permanent basis. The 20-year-old has impressed in his short spell at Villa Park, overshadowing the performances of the likes of record signing Darren Bent since his loan switch from Tottenham, having played the first half of the season with Championship leaders QPR. His form has been such a revelation that he has already earned successive call-ups to the England squad and the attacking full-back is hoping to play a part in England’s qualifier in Wales on Saturday. Reports have suggested that Houllier has been sufficiently persuaded by the players talents, to fork out as much as £10m to ensure that the Sheffield born youngster stays at the club, assuming they avoid relegation from the Premier League. However, Tottenham boss Redknapp says there is no way he would let the player leave on a permanent basis considering his huge promise, stating;

“Kyle will be back here for sure, he’s still learning and got miles to learn but he is a talent, a real prospect.

“He has got all the attributes to be an England right-back of the future. He’ll come back here and push for a place.”

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Taiwo Set for Benfica Over Villa, Liverpool and Milan

March 24, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
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Having recently reported that Villa were lining up a move for Marseille’s Nigerian international left-back Taye Taiwo to replace the outgoing Stephen Warnock, TalkSport have now claimed that the 25-year-old will choose Benfica over a number of other targets when his contract expires with the Ligue 1 club in the summer. Villa were supposedly joined in their interest for the defender by league rivals Liverpool and Serie A leaders AC Milan, however, the report suggests that Taiwo is set to announce his decision to join the Portuguese side next week. French magazine Canal+ had revealed that Taiwo was keen on a move to San Siro but his agent has since stated: “Maybe something will be decided in the coming days. The player will play in the [Nigerian] national team next Saturday against Ethiopia. Benfica is one of the possible destinations, we’ll see.”

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Quoted: Milner on Happiness of City Move Despite Lack of Impact

March 24, 2011 by · 2 Comments
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James Milner has spoken of his decision to move to Manchester City from Villa having failed to make the impact expected at Eastlands and when asked as to whether the £26m transfer was the right move to make, Milner stated;

“Definitely. I moved to the club to win trophies and play in the Champions League and we’re still on course for that.

“We are also in the semi-finals of the FA Cup. I am delighted with that.

“We didn’t get too caught in all the ‘can you win the league’ talk.

“It is always tough moving teams but I am feeling more at home the longer I am there.”

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Houllier Re-Writes the Villa Rule Book Pending Players Approval

March 23, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
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The Daily Mail has reported today that Gerard Houllier has made changes to Villa’s PFA approved code of conduct in a bid to improve the discipline that has marred his first disappointing season at the helm. According to the paper’s report ‘at least two of his players are believed to be seeking advice before signing up to the new regime.’ The Frenchman has upset a number of players at the club as he looks to change the way the team play and the club is run from top to bottom. Centre-back pairing Collins and Dunne are the latest to have spoken out against the current regime, albeit internally, and the 63-year-old is keen to stamp his authority on the club as they plummet dangerously close to the relegation zone. One of the apparent changes is to enforce a ban on the use of mobile phones in the dressing room. A club spokesman has since stated: ‘These were alterations to the standard rule-book that the manager wanted to make. It is not a new code of conduct. These amendments have been presented to the players.’

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Villa Linked to Inter’s Kenyan International McDonald Mariga

March 23, 2011 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Transfer News 

Gerard Houllier is reportedly keen to bolster his midfield ranks with the future of the likes of club captain Stiliyan Petrov and Nigel Reo-Coker, whose contract will expire come the summer, in severe doubt. The Frenchman has been linked to Inter Milan’s Kenyan midfielder McDonald Mariga to fill the potential void, with the African having only made to starts in the league all season for the reigning Champions League winners. In all competitions he has made just 4 starts out of 15 appearances this season, once in the Champions League, and has netted one goal in the 3-2 Coppa Italia win over Genoa. The 23-year-old made just 11 starts the season previous, scoring in the 3-1 victory over Atalanta. The Kenyan earned a 10m euro move to the San Siro after an impressive campaign with fellow Serie A side Parma. Despite this he has failed to hold down a place under new manager Leonardo and is reportedly available for around £4.5m.

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Collins Denies Rumours of Full Fitness for Wolves Clash

March 23, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
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Rumours have speculated, from myself included to be fair, that James Collins will have been fit for the weekend’s clash against Wolves after recovering from a calf injury, but the defender has refuted the club’s and in turn helped alleviate a bit of pressure on his manager. The Wales international is currently in training with the national side preparing to face England on Saturday and was confirmed as fit by the national set-up as early as Tuesday leading to reports that he was not included in Saturday’s squad due to his misdemeanours with fellow centre-back Richard Dunne. The Irishman is also away on international duty but was almost certainly not fit to face Wolves having only began training today after recovering from a shoulder problem. The Wolves game saw Chris Herd, primarily a midfielder, fill in at centre back alongside Carlos Cuellar admirably, but more experience in the backline would have been extremely useful. Collins’ denial of being fully fit for the weekend’s game and his relief to get away on international duty

Quoted: Young Hints at Stay in Order to Score 1000th VP Goal

March 23, 2011 by · 3 Comments
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Ashley Young has made the biggest indication that he may well stay at Villa in a jovial interview with the Birmingham Mail. It had been suggested that the 25-year-old current captain was all but certain to leave the club in the summer but it seems it is not as much of a certainty as first feared. When Young was told that he had scored the club’s 500th league goal at Villa Park, earlier in his time at the club, Young stated;

“I wasn’t aware of that statistic but I’m delighted to be the one to get the 500th home goal.

“It’s a massive milestone for the club – maybe I can go on and get the 1,000th in all Premier League games.’’ (the club is currently on 925 so if he’s planning on doing that by the end of the season we will have to end it pretty well!)

Does this give you any confidence that the forward will stay on at the club, and do you feel that keeping Ashley is essential to Villa’s aspirations next season, assuming they are in the Premier League next season!

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