Confirmed: Bradley In, Ireland Out, Warnock Unlikely

January 31, 2011 by · 1 Comment
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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

Deadline Day Decisions: Outgoing Deals Both Hit Hitches

January 31, 2011 by · 2 Comments
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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.

Wage Wars Block Warnock’s Anfield Return

January 28, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
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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.

Warnock to Choose Anfield Over Rovers Return

January 18, 2011 by · 1 Comment
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Aston Villa left-back Stephen Warnock is keen on a move back to Anfield, the club that his current manager, Gerard Houllier, sold him from to Blackburn Rovers. Rovers were also thought to be interested in bringing Warnock back to Ewood Park on loan and a deal was touted involving Villa’s link to Christopher Samba. However, it now appears that the England international is favouring a move to Anfield under Kenny Dalglish, with a loan deal to the end of the season being suggested. Warnock had a poor first half to the season and after picking up a back injury he was replaced by centre back Ciaran Clark who has continued to keep Warnock out of the side, and indeed the squad last time out against the Blues. It seems inevitable that Warnock’s time is up at Villa Park but that was the consensus regarding Richard Dunne who has worked his way back in so who knows. Gerard Houllier is however, on the lookout for a new left-back and whether Warnock going out will depend on this or vice-versa as Villa may be looking to sign before enabling Warnock to go. Either way he was a good player last season, admittedly went off the boil at the beginning of this but does he deserve to be sold? Thoughts…

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Bridge to Choose Between Villa and West Ham

January 10, 2011 by · 2 Comments
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It has been confirmed that both Aston Villa and West Ham have had loan offers for Manchester City left back Wayne Bridge accepted by the Eastlands club. The England international full-back is now set to decide on which club he would like to sign for on a temporary contract until the end of the current season. The decision is made harder for the defender with both Avram Grant and Gerard Houllier under fire with the former in particular, thought to be unlikely to be in a job by the end of the month. If Bridge were to join Villa it may well spell the end of a short tenure at the club for Stephen Warnock, whose mediocre displays this term have not gone unnoticed by his manager. Rumours that he will be offloaded back to former club Blackburn in a bid to exchange Christopher Samba remain rife in the media. Bridge is hoping to regain first team football after falling way down the pecking order at City but may feel that this is more of a certainty at bottom club West Ham, with Ciaran Clark filling in admirably in Warnock’s absence. The 30-year-old is thought to be ready to commit to one or the other clubs in the next two days, ahead of a derby day visit to Birmingham were he to make the shorter trip to the Midlands. Discuss…

Rovers Want Warnock/Collins in Samba Swap

January 9, 2011 by · 2 Comments
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Rumours suggest that the recent injury to Stephen Warnock is not merely a coincidence and that the left-back may soon be on his way out of the club. Although he has not been at the forefront of the supposed backroom rift with the management some sources do state that he is not a great influence in the matter and could soon be sold. The issue has aroused the interest of former employer’s Blackburn, who Villa have once again drawn in a cup competition, this time the 4th round of the FA Cup (could be better, could be worse). Rovers’ new manager Steve Kean is reportedly keen (how many times is that surname going to be used regarding to transfer interests!) to bring the full back to the club which saved him from Gerard Houllier at Liverpool. Suggestions have ultimately been made that Warnock could be used as a makeweight for supposed Villa target Christopher Samba. One rumour stated that Blackburn were looking to complete a straight swap for Warnock and fellow defender James Collins in exchange. In my opinion Warnock has been poor this season and can go if the suggestions that he no longer wants to be at the club are true. I also feel that Samba is a great defender and would be a fantastic signing but not worth two first-team regulars, especially as James Collins has been somewhat of a mainstay and quite possibly Villa’s most consistent centre-half. What would you consider to be a fair exchange deal, be it a straight swap or player plus cash offer, and do you feel Samba could sure up Villa’s leaky backline?

Bridge Over Troubled Warnock?

January 7, 2011 by · 1 Comment
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Reports in the Telegraph suggest that Wayne Bridge is set to be brought to Aston Villa on loan to put pressure on the struggling Stephen Warnock at left-back. The news comes a day after Houllier signed right-back Kyle Walker on loan for the rest of the season as the Frenchman looks to overhaul is failing back four. I would agree that Warnock has been poor in comparison to last term but he is ahead of Wayne Bridge in the pecking order for England and the City left-back has hardly played all season capping a pretty bad year considering John Terry did the dirty with his ex. The former Chelsea and Southampton defender is now 30 and looking to secure first team football after falling way down the pecking order at Manchester City behind the likes of Kolarov and Zabaleta. In a desperate attempt to get Villa out of their relegation scrap, owner Randy Lerner is reportedly willing to offer the player’s £90,000 a week wages in full after City refused to subsidise a potential loan despite revealing the player is free to leave! This is what the papers are saying but I simply can’t believe that they would make him the highest paid player at the club, hence pissing off the current squad no doubt. If Lerner is willing to pay those sort of wages I would suggest that he could go for someone with far more potential than Wayne Bridge, put it this way if Wayne Bridge is worth 90k a week it starts to make Steve Sidwell’s 45k look like a steal. Nevertheless, Bridge has shown on many occasions that he is a top player but sadly not in the past 3 or 4 years. The left-back will be hoping a loan will revive his chances at Man City but that is highly unlikely for a player who, if loaned, will surely be leaving Mancini’s outfit next season. What do you think of this deal? Surely not worth 90k a week so I would have to suggest that that is tosh to be honest. Is he better than Warnock?

Aston Villa vs Liverpool Pre-Match Predictions

December 5, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
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Here are my predictions for this Monday’s game with Liverpool. I’m equally optimistic and pessimistic ahead of the match which will see Houllier return to Anfield. An uncertain defence of late doesn’t look like keeping a clean sheet any time soon against a Liverpool team who made a host of chances against Tottenham last week. On a positive note Agbonlahor looked sharp against City and we dominated the game despite defeat so I think we will get a few chances against a Liverpool defence devoid of Carragher and Agger. I’m hopeful of returns for Cuellar and Albrighton but may well be wrong! What do you think will be the score and who will feature in tomorrow night’s 8pm kick-off?

Possible Starting XI: Friedel; L Young, Dunne, Cuellar, Warnock; Albrighton, Clark, Hogg, Downing; Ireland; Agbonlahor

Key Man: Gabby Agbonlahor

Goalscorer(s): Agbonlahor, Ireland

Minute of First Goal: 53

Final Score: 2-2

Liverpool vs Aston Villa Match Preview

December 5, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
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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

Villa Injury Update Ahead of Liverpool Trip

December 4, 2010 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Injury News 

Barry Bannan is the latest player to join the Villa Park injury list. The young midfielder limped off in the 2-1 defeat to Birmingham in midweek with a groin injury and is unlikely to recover in time for the trip to Anfield on Monday night. Gerard Houllier was erring on the side of caution as he didn’t want to aggravate the problem which would only deplete his squad further. Speaking in a press conference on Friday, Houllier stated:

“I don’t think Barry will be able to play. I’ve got my doubts because it is a groin strain which he picked up against Birmingham.”

Positive News on the Long-Term Injury Front

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