‘Let’s get to work’ – Grealish seals legendary status at Aston Villa

August 11, 2018 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Transfer News 

Aston Villa Jack Grealish endeared himself to supporters after handling speculation about his future in a mature fashion. Rather than releasing soundbites about his ambition to play in the Premier League and Champions League while loosely committing his future to his existing club, he kept out of the limelight and has since done his talking on the pitch.

Despite some tabloids suggestion the opposite, the 22-year-old has been focused on the start of the new season with Villa and wasn’t entertaining the idea of a transfer. Jack’s own brother spoke out on social media to deny the rumours still linking him with Tottenham, insisting he was staying at Villa Park. And after that news was confirmed, Grealish shared his most-liked tweet:

After impressing in Villa’s opening game victory against Hull City days previously, the midfielder reaffirmed his love for the club in a tweet. But the latest one mean a lot to supporters given many were divided on whether or not he wanted to stay. There were rumours he was furious with Villa for not letting him leave and that he was considering taking action to push through a late move. That turned out to be wildly inaccurate and Grealish has instead been doing his talking on the football pitch.

The England u21 international was outstanding against Hull City on August 6, making one assist, completing 95% of his passes, drawing seven fouls and making more interceptions (2) than his teammates. He followed up a top performance with another terrific showing against Wigan Athletic on Saturday, creating six chances, having more touches (70) than any teammate and making five dribbles.  He’s clearly not let the speculation get to him and relishes being Villa’s golden boy. Grealish will be key to Bruce taking the club up this season.

New deal on the table

The latest news is that Grealish could be signing a new deal with Villa to take his contract past 2020. The 22-year-old has already committed his future to the club, but now he has the chance to cement his loyalty. Fans already see him as a legend despite his young age, but a new contract would propel him to new heights.

Villa manager Steve Bruce admitted he feared losing the playmaker, but it looks like he’s set to stay for at least another season. Whether or not Tottenham Hotspur return for the midfielder remains to be seen, but fans won’t be scared of losing him anymore.

Woodburn arrival at Villa could seal Grealish’s exit

July 30, 2018 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Transfer News 

Aston Villa are being heavily linked with Liverpool winger Ben Woodburn, with the 18-year-old hot prospect close to joining the Midlands outfit on loan for the season. However, his arrival could mean an existing player leaves the club – Jack Grealish. Tottenham are keen on his signature and may have more look in their pursuit after Villa sign an attacking replacement.

Grealish’s future at Villa Park is uncertain. The club’s failure to earn promotion via the Championship playoffs last season has led to the 22-year-old considering a move elsewhere. While Villa were struggling to pay their monthly tax bill, owner Tony Xia made it clear that funds would have to be made through the sales of existing individuals.

Manager Steve Bruce even backed up the suggestion, calling Grealish’s exit “inevitable”. Villa have since been taken over by Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens, two very rich and successful businessmen, but it doesn’t mean the fan favourite won’t leave. If Grealish is offered the chance to play in the Premier League, he can hardly turn it down – especially if he doesn’t believe the Villans will ever make it back.

Having risen through the youth ranks to the first-team, the England u21 international has gone on to make 110 appearances in all competitions, scoring and creating 22 goals. His current deal with the club has two years remaining, but Villa can make the most value by cashing in on the interest.

Nevertheless, losing a talented playmaker who can operate between the lines and is a product of the academy will be tough to take. Grealish has great potential and fans will have hoped he’d realise it at the club, but his future appears to be elsewhere due to Villa failing to match his ambition.

Woodburn would come close to replacing him on the pitch either, as the Liverpool teenager isn’t a like-for-like replacement. He’s made only 11 first-team appearances for the Reds, scoring one goal and could be a talented player in years to come.

At youth level, Woodbury has scored and created 18 goals in 24 games for the u23s and four goals in eight outings for the u19s. Grealish was more of a playmaker who would create chances for teammates, but the Welsh international instead looks like a goalscorer.

Should he complete the move as expected, he’ll be in for a culture shock given his young age and relative first-team inexperience, but Villa may have a gem on their hands if they use him correctly. It’s a shame it may come at the expense of Grealish’s departure.

Villa implementing Wolves’ recruitment strategy for promotion push this season

July 30, 2018 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Aston Villa, Transfer News 

According to Alan Nixon of The Sun, Aston Villa manager Steve Bruce will have little say on the signings made this summer, with new owners Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens implementing a recruitment strategy that will see an agent work closely with the club to help facilitate the move of talented young players on a loan-to-buy policy.

The Midlands outfit have certainly taken inspiration from rivals Wolverhampton Wanderers who had agent Jorge Mendes help broker deals for a number of talented Portuguese players last season. Villa may call upon Mendes to identify and sign promising individuals that won’t break the bank. Bruce has the backing from the owners, but not when it comes to recruitment.

Previously Technical Director Steve Round was the man in charge of signing players and sell existing individuals, but he left the club this summer after a winding up order nearly came the way of the Midlands outfit. Villa nearly fell foul of Financial Fair Play after a high-spending 2016/17, resulting in them making loan deals and free transfer acquisitions the following campaign.

This summer might be more of the same, as the owners are looking for loan deals that could turn permanent at the end of the season. Promotion was the objective in 2017/18, despite the massive cuts in spending, but 2018/19 might be a different story. Jack Grealish has an uncertain future, and his exit could lead to a domino effect within the first-team squad.

There are a number of players who could follow Grealish through the exit door which would greatly hamper the Villans attempts to return to the Premier League at the third time of asking. Bruce may have left his position if he wasn’t to be given such a big compensation package for a sacking, but he may only have one more season to prove his worth before the owners make a decision.

He’s no longer having a say on recruitment, which suggests the club are paying less importance to the head coach and more on the backroom staff. The most expendable person in such a team is the manager.  If the focus will switch onto an agent or third party bringing in players, there could be a power struggle. Nixon says Bruce is still trying to push through deals for players he previously identified, but he won’t have the final decision. Such a system threatens to undermine the coach in charge and could mean an exit is coming sooner rather than later.

While good news that Villa have found some investment, the politics in the boardroom threaten to spoil any chances of a successful campaign.

Are Aston Villa resigned to losing Jack Grealish?

June 21, 2018 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Aston Villa, Transfer News 

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND – APRIL 03: Jack Grealish of Aston Villa in action during the Sky Bet Championship match between Aston Villa and Reading at Villa Park on April 3, 2018 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Aston Villa will employ dramatic cost-cutting measures this summer to try and rectify their financial situation which could result in their best asset, Jack Grealish, being sold.

After failing to gain promotion from the Championship this summer, the Midlands club have an uncertain future as their financial security was dependent on them returning to the Premier League.

Chairman Dr Tony Xia is reported to be looking for a buyer for Aston Villa, meaning a second takeover in two years looks on the cards and there could be a lot of high-profile exits to make up the financial deficit caused by Xia’s risky strategy.

The Villans have been trimming the wage budget, letting Gabriel Agbonlahor and Chris Samba’s contracts expire without a renewal being considered and Grealish could follow them through the exit door.

Tottenham and Liverpool interested in Grealish

The creative attacking-midfielder has an asking price of £40m this summer. Tottenham are believed to be negotiating for half the fee, while Liverpool could lodge a bid greater than Spurs to land Grealish’s signature.

There’s no question of the 22-year-old staying at Villa Park. He’s open to joining a big club that can offer Premier League and Champions League football and Villa desperately need the money.

Grealish made 110 appearances in all competitions for Villa and become a fan favourite last season after setting the Championship alight. He would be a good signing for a manager looking to develop young talent and a move will boost his chances of getting in the England national team in the future.

Grealish departure could have damaging knock-on effect

If other players see that Villa are actively selling their best talents, they could also seek to leave this summer. Promotion looks a distant dream in 2018/19 if the likes of Grealish are allowed to leave, and players such as James Chester, Henri Lansbury, Conor Hourihane, Albert Adomah and Jonathan Kodjia could follow.

Clubs will target Villa’s stars, knowing they can sign them at a cut price due to the seriousness of their financial situation. Players will be open to a move as the club aren’t likely to move forwards next season and the task of merely consolidating in the Championship becomes the sole focus.

There won’t be any investment in the club this summer while Xia remains the owner. Instead a summer exodus looks on the cards and players from the youth teams being prematurely promoted to take their place. Grealish is almost certainly leaving and he won’t be the only one.

 

Agbonlahor finally departs as Aston Villa submit released list

June 16, 2018 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Aston Villa, Transfer News 

Aston Villa forward Gabriel Agbonlahor.

Long-serving forward Gabriel Agbonlahor has finally exited Villa Park after Aston Villa submitted their released list to the Championship. The 31-year-old rose through the youth ranks to the first-team in 2005 and went on to make 391 appearances in all competitions for the Villa.

Aston Villa’s released list for 2017/18

  • Abdo, Khalid
  • Agbonlahor, Gabriel
  • Borg, Oscar Francis
  • Finnerty, James John
  • Idem, Emmanuel Okokon
  • Johansson, Viktor Tobias
  • Samba, Veijeany Christopher
  • Terry, John George
  • Watkins, Bradley

In addition to Agbonlahor, Swedish attacking-midfielder Khalid Abdo will be on his way out when his contract expires. The 21-year-old was originally deemed a hot prospect for the at the time of his signing in 2012 but failed to make an impression on the first-team in six years and has been deemed expendable.

Christopher Samba will follow him through the exit door, having made 14 appearances for Villa after joining on a free transfer last summer. He’s out of contract and won’t be given a renewal.

John Terry is the most notable departure. He joined from Chelsea last summer and made 36 appearances as the Villans finished fourth in the Championship, losing in the playoff final to Fulham. The 37-year-old was considering extending his deal with Villa before they failed to return to the Premier League.

Aston Villa’s retained list for 2017/18

  • Adomah, Albert
  • Amavi, Jordan Kevin
  • Bazeley, Isaiah Robert Graham
  • Bedeau, Jacob Mitchell
  • Bjarnason, Birkir
  • Blackett-Taylor, Corey Josiah Paul
  • Bree, James Patrick
  • Bunn, Mark John
  • Chester, James Grant
  • Clark, Mitchell
  • Clarke, Jack Aidan
  • Cox, Jordan Raymond
  • Davis, Keinan Vincent Joseph
  • De Laet, Ritchie Ria Alfons
  • Doyle Hayes, Jake Billy
  • Eissa Ahmed Elmohamady
  • Elphick, Tommy
  • Gardner, Gary
  • Gil, de Pareja Vicent Carles
  • Gollini, Pierluigi
  • Grealish, Jack
  • Green, Andre Jay
  • Hepburn-Murphy, Rushian
  • Hogan, Scott Andrew
  • Hourihane, Conor
  • Jedinak, Michael John
  • Knibbs, Harvey
  • Kodjia, Jonathan
  • Lansbury, Henri George
  • Lyden, Jordan
  • McCormack, Ross
  • McKirdy, Harry
  • Mooney, Kelsey
  • O’Hare, Callum
  • Odutayo, Colin Ladipo
  • Pastorek, Jozef
  • Prosser, Alexander
  • Richards, Micah
  • Sarkic, Matjia
  • Steer, Jed John
  • Suliman, Easah Zaheer
  • Taylor, Neil John
  • Tshibola, Aaron
  • Vassilev, Indiana Denchev
  • Whelan, Glenn David

Villa have named 45 players on their retained list, but that number is expected to fall dramatically this summer. Due to their financial problems and a need to trim the wage bill, the Midlands outfit are expected to put a number of players up for sale.

An exodus could be on the cards, with James Chester, Jack Grealish and Albert Adomah attracting interest elsewhere, while feelers will be put out for Micah Richards who didn’t play a single game last season and still has another 12 months left on his deal at Villa Park.

Aston Villa confirm John Terry has left the club

May 31, 2018 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Aston Villa, Transfer News 

Aston Villa have confirmed the departure of centre-back John Terry. The 37-year-old joined from Chelsea last summer and made 36 appearances in all competitions for the Midlands outfit as they reached the Championship playoff final, ultimately losing to Fulham at Wembley.

“We would like to place on record our most sincere thanks for the effort and professionalism he showed with us last season. John is a true leader and was everything and more that we hoped,” read Villa’s statement from their official website.

“Hugely popular and influential in the dressing room, he played a real captain’s role in creating the incredible bond the players shared with our supporters, and vice-versa. We hope he looks back on his time with Villa fondly and we wish him the very best as his career moves forward.”

Aston Villa defender John Terry.

Terry formed a potent defensive partnership with James Chester in 2017/18 which saw Villa concede just 42 goals – the second-best defensive record in the division. Steve Bruce’s side finished fourth in the Championship with 83 points from the 46 games.

With Axel Tuanzebe, Tommy Elphick and Christopher Samba as centre-back options, Bruce did have other options at the back, but Terry proved his worth despite his advancing age and was a big reason why Villa went so close to getting back in the Premier League.

Terry was in talks over a contract extension that would see him be able to avoid fixtures against former club Chelsea if Villa earned promotion from the Championship, but now he’s left the club for good and Bruce has to find a worth replacement.

The two-month period Terry was sidelined for with a fracture foot would cost Villa the most in their pursuit for the playoffs, highlighting how influential he was on the pitch. He missed 10 games and Villa dropped points in 50% of the Championship outings.

Terry’s start at Villa didn’t exactly go to plan, as they picked up just one point from their first three games of the season, but he turned things around to get the fans back onside. After suffering two early defeats, the Midlands outfit enjoyed an eight-game unbeaten run to climb back up the table.

They would suffer just two defeats between mid-August and mid-December which saw them go second in the table with 36 points from 18 games. Only Fulham and Cardiff City picked up more points than Villa in 2018 too. There’ll be many regrets over their sloppy start to the season and dip in form without Terry, but Villa are nevertheless grateful such a world-class talent nearly got them to the Premier League.

It’s unknown where he will go from here, but Terry doesn’t appear to be considering retirement just yet. He was happy to stay at Villa Park if they earned promotion, so he’ll surely find himself another club and sign a 12-mnoth deal before considering his future.

After playing 36 games last season, Terry proved there’s life in his old legs, but he may feel he’s earned a move to a slower-paced division abroad. The veteran could join up with ex-Chelsea teammate Ashley Young in the MLS or make a big-money move to the Chinese Super League. Time will tell.

What now for Darren Bent?

June 6, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Aston Villa, Guest Blogs, Transfer News 

One of the questions that Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert must answer this summer relates to the club’s record transfer Darren Bent. The England international forward has been frozen out of the team following the signing of Christian Benteke, and is in dire need of regular first-team football.

Although Bent looks odds-on to leave Villa Park with bwinbetting.com, there is a case to be made that the forward could still rekindle his career in Birmingham. The player’s future may well be linked in with Benteke’s fate, as should Villa sell the Belgian forward Bent could be in line for a recall.

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Villa to look to Marc Albrighton in the wake of Young and Downing departures

July 27, 2011 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Marc Albrighton, Transfer News 

Aston Villa fans will not have enjoyed watching England international wingers Ashley Young and Stewart Downing leave the club to move to Manchester United and Liverpool this summer, and Alex McLeish will be slightly worried about his side’s lack of width in their absence. Although difficult and expensive to replace, the new man at the helm at Villa Park will be mightily relieved that he has the pace, versatility and quality of Marc Albrighton to call upon.

With Charles N’Zogbia’s impending transfer to the club from Wigan, Villa have replaced like for like, and the France international will harbour the responsibility of recreating some of Downing’s exploits down the left. The ex-Newcastle player contributed valuable goals to the Latics successful relegation escape last term, and like Downing likes to drift in-field and provide support to the strikers.

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Patience to Pay Off in N’Zogbia Deal for Villa

July 25, 2011 by · 4 Comments
Filed under: Transfer News 

It was announced today that Aston Villa and Wigan had finally reached a deal regarding an asking price for the Latics’ want-away winger Charles N’Zogbia. Read more

Update: Bent Hopes for N’Zog Deal, Walsall Report, Ireland Injured?

July 22, 2011 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Injury News, Match Reports, Quoted, Transfer News 

Very little news on the transfer front at Villa Park ahead of the club’s trip to Hong Kong this weekend suggests that move for N’Zogbia may well be in the balance due to the prolonged nature of the proceedings. Either way, Villa striker Darren Bent, who hit the ground running in the clubs opening friendly with Walsall last night, claims that the Frenchman would be a great signing, for the benefit of both himself and the club. Read more

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