Deadline Day Decisions: Young Off? No Chance!

January 31, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
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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.

Darren Bent Official Press Conference Quotes

January 18, 2011 by · 5 Comments
Filed under: Transfer News 

After signing for an initial fee of £18m, Darren Bent was unveiled as Villa’s record signing at 7pm in a press conference at Villa Park. Here are some of the key things that the striker has had to say about his new club along with manager Gerard Houllier’s opinions upon getting his man, who incidentally will wear the number 39 shirt until the end of the season; Read Here

Young Interest Mounting, Club Say No Approach

January 18, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
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Today, Villa have refuted claims that they have received any approaches from rival clubs for Ashley Young despite reported growing interest in the England international. Houllier will be hoping that the signing of players of the calibre of Bent and Makoun will persuade Young that the club are pushing for progress after a poor start to the season saw the winger put a hold on contract talks. His current deal expires next summer with many potential suitors eyeing up a cut price move for the 25-year-old. It was believed that Tottenham came close to signing Young in the summer with Harry Redknapp confirming an interest but Villa resisted bids, saying they would rather see him go for free in 2012 than for a fee lower than their valuation, which Houllier ludicrously claimed was £80m at one point. It has now been suggested that Liverpool have renewed an interest in Young under new manager Kenny Dalglish. Surprisingly for this club, it only appears to be Man City who aren’t interested in poaching a star man with the likes of United, Chelsea and Arsenal all being linked in the past.

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Fergie Targets £30m Clark and Young Package Deal

January 11, 2011 by · 4 Comments
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Alex Ferguson is believed to be keen to revive an aging squad with the additions of Villa duo Ciaran Clark and Ashley Young in the summer. Reports have been suggested due to the likes of golden oldies Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Gary Neville coming to the end of their careers. A touted offer of £30m is apparently being lined up and with Ashley Young’s contract running out at the end of next season, one must assume that a sizeable chunk of that fee would be spent on the young Villa defender who has broke into the Villa first team this year in three different positions. Clark, who decided to commit his international future to Ireland over England, has impressed in roles in his natural centre back position as well as in midfield and at left back, netting 3 goals in the process. Young has been linked to United for a number of seasons but fears that the 25-year-old could leave the club are becoming all too real after the England international refused to commit his future to the club. The opposite applies for Clark who signed a long term extension on his current deal a couple of months back. What do you make of the fee? If the story was true I would doubt that it would be that high with Young’s contract winding down. Who do Villa need to keep the most out of the two and would selling a youngster such as Clark, send out the wrong message, attracting interest in the likes of Albrighton and Bannan in the process?

Heskey Villa’s Best Player This Season? Average Player Ratings

January 5, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
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Around about the half way mark of Villa’s season, I would like to know who you think, that when they have played, has been Villa’s highest consistent performer this season. According to the Average Ratings section of the site, based on individual ratings after every performance, I make much maligned striker Emile Heskey to be the best player this season, just ahead of youngster Marc Albrighton and Ashley Young who come in second and third respectively. In a season hampered by injuries, Heskey has proved an integral part of a flailing Villa set up and is missed in his absence with the likes of John Carew and Gabby Agbonlahor yet to score a single league goal. In just 9 starts in all competitions, the 31-year-old has scored 6 times, coming off the bench on 4 occasions. A pretty good record for someone who, I would use the saying couldn’t finish his dinner but he clearly can, and has been lovingly named donkey by sections of the Villa support. Do you agree that the big man has been the surprise package this season or have the likes of Albrighton out shone his performances this season? The full ratings are published in the following link with some pretty poor performer’s outweighing the decent ones it seems! Full Player Ratings Table

Spurs and Man Utd Step Up Young Chase

December 27, 2010 by · 8 Comments
Filed under: Transfer News 

Despite repeated rejections from the Villa board and manager stating that the club may have to cash in on Ashley Young, more reports have been circulating that the likes of Manchester United and Tottenham will make January moves in an attempt to force Villa’s arm in the matter. For the third season in a row it has been suggested that the club will offload their best player, after worryingly similar scenarios transpired with regards to Gareth Barry and James Milner. With player power growing ever more significant in the game it seems that many look to allow their contracts to run in order to mastermind their desired wages or destinations and Ashley Young looks set to join the list. With 18 months left on his contract the Villa winger is in an ideal position to manipulate a supposed desired move to one of the top four. Villa stated that they would sooner let his contract run out then sell him in January earlier in the month but this has not stopped countless rumours.

According to one source United are closing in on a deal worth £13m, significantly less than the £80m price tag Houllier suggested in recent times. That price is surely way-off unless Houllier wants to face the wrath of even more angry fans than he currently does. Perhaps more feasibly and interestingly to that matter, it has been suggested that Tottenham are lining up a player’s plus cash move although the last one involving Stephen Ireland hasn’t exactly payed off as yet. The likes of Robbie Keane, David Bentley, Niko Kranjcar and Jamie O’Hara have all been touted as potential make-weights in a deal for the 25-year-old with two from above plus cash most likely. The Sun reported that a source at Tottenham has said:

“It’s no secret Harry is a big fan of Ashley Young and would like to take him.

“So he’s hoping the likes of Keane and Bentley could tempt Villa into doing business.

“That way Houllier gets a proven goalscorer and a like-for-like replacement, not to mention a few bob to add to his own kitty.”

I’d certainly take Kranjcar and probably Bentley, still unsure about Keane and O’Hara but I did like the midfield man at Portsmouth. All four you’ve got a deal I reckon! Thoughts?…

Houllier: Young a No-Go in January

December 24, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
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Gerard Houllier has quashed reports that the club may look to cash in on star player Ashley Young in January with his contract expiring in the summer of 2012. The manager has reiterated reports earlier in the week that Villa would be loathed, but willing, to risk letting Young leave on a free transfer at the end of his contract as they feel his worth in a playing capacity over the next two seasons would outweigh a cut price valuation due to the contract scenario. Young had looked set to pen a new long-term deal but after stating that he was happy at the club, revealed that he wanted to wait until the end of the season in order to ‘focus on playing’ before discussing terms in the summer. Houllier has confirmed that this will be the case despite interest from Liverpool, Manchester United and Tottenham stating that both he and the chairman were ‘brave’ enough to let the contract run as opposed to selling the club’s highest earner.

“Ashley knows that the club’s will is to keep him. I’ll keep him until the end of his contract and I’ll keep the club developing,” said Houllier.

“You have to be brave to do that. Mr Lerner is brave and I am brave.

“Ashley told us very clearly that he would like to end this season and see what he’ll do and we respect that.

“Let’s wait and see. At the moment I can tell you that we’ll assess things a bit later on. If someone comes with crazy money, yes. But in the meantime I don’t think he’ll leave in January. ”

Villa Prepared to Let Young Contract Run

December 21, 2010 by · 1 Comment
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It appears that Villa are looking to buck the trend of having to sell their best players by simply letting their contracts run out instead. Star man Ashley Young has been linked with many of England’s bigger boys for many years now but things looked up for Villa earlier in the year after Young revealed he was happy at the club and was interested in extending his current deal. Young is the club’s highest wage earner and was set to sign a new long-term deal before changing his mind in order to ‘focus on playing football’ (not good footballing noises)! A move back to his hometown of London was the main link in the summer with Tottenham thought to be keen. A decent start to the season has seen the likes of Liverpool and Manchester United renew interests which led Houllier to set a farcical £80m price tag on the 25-year-old.

Young’s current deal expires in 18 months and the club face another Barry/Milner situation wherein their best player is reportedly not interested in extending his contract. In the past the board have looked to cash in on such assets with Barry and Milner both leaving for Manchester City, a club who shockingly haven’t really been accredited with an interest this time around. After such dealings led to the resignation of Martin O’Neill in the summer and the criticism of fans and pundits alike, it seems that Lerner is determined to hang on to the club’s prized asset. It has been reported that Villa are not willing to sell Young in January and are certainly not prepared to let him go for a cut-price in the summer having spent £10m on the ex-Watford man four years ago. This would mean that if Ashley decides not to sign a new deal this year then he would be allowed to leave the club on a free in the summer of 2012, a scenario which the Villa management see as more valuable to the team then relinquishing any of the ‘£80m’ price tag. Oh dear is all I can say, sinking feeling returning, got to sort out this de ja vu!

Ashley Young Follows Namesake in Liverpool Link

December 9, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Aston Villa, Transfer News 

Liverpool have again shown an interest in one of our ‘Young’ talents. After pursuing right-back Luke over the summer, Roy Hodgson has now been linked with a move for Ashley, and not for the first time. Since the takeover of the club by NESV it is believed that a healthy transfer budget has been introduced to bring some top names to the club once again. Ashley Young has been on the Liverpool radar since Benitez was at the club and it now seems as though the Anfield side are renewing an interest. Reports have suggested that the Reds are ready to test Villa’s resolve with a £15m bid in January though a move is unlikely. In recent weeks Gerard Houllier has stated that Young would not be up for sale for anything less than £80m! Is he worth £80m? No. Is he worth a quarter of that? Possibly. Villa bought Young, now 25, from Watford in a big money move which many felt was hasty at £10m. Young went on to prove doubters wrong in his second season at the club, winning the PFA Young Player of the Year and earning a place in the Premier League Team of the Year in the process. In truth Ashley hasn’t replicated this form for a little while but still represents a huge asset to Houllier’s side with a bid of £15m probably not enough in today’s climate. Despite admitting that he admired Young’s talent, Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson rubbished the rumours today.

Read Hodgson’s Comments Here

Liverpool vs Aston Villa Match Preview

December 5, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Match Previews 

Monday 6th December 2010

Opponent: Liverpool

Venue: Anfield

Kick Off: 20:00

Gerard Houllier will make an emotional return to Liverpool in Monday night as he takes his Villa side to Anfield in desperate search of a win. The Frenchman will no doubt have had his eye on this fixture since moving to Villa and his ties with the club are just one of a number of potential reunions. Houllier’s No.2 Gary McAllister was brought to the club by the manager is a playing capacity and in a short stint with the club the Scotsman became a cult hero. Among the playing staff to have plied their trade in Merseyside include Brad Friedel, Stephen Warnock and Emile Heskey, though the striker is unlikely to feature through injury. Extended Match Preview

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