Speculation, and I should stress that again it is only speculation, has been rife today that Ashley Young will not be signing a new deal with the club in the summer as he is holding out for a move to a bigger club. Most notably the Daily Mail have reported that the 25-year-old is extremely keen on linking up with Sir Alex Ferguson at United in what could be a severely cut-price deal, though the £10m touted is way off in my opinion.
Considering the current situation of the player having one-year left on his contract come the end of the season being identical to that of James Milner and Gareth Barry before him, I would suggest that Villa would be less than likely to sell for anything under £15m. Milner was a hotter property at the time having held down a regular England place, and cost City £16m plus the apparently £8m worth of Stephen Ireland. Gareth Barry was 3 years the senior of Young’s age when he left the club and City still stumped up around £10m in a time when £4m for Charlie Adam would have been snapped up!
I think the loss to City in the FA Cup will have shown Young that the wrong impressions, as if he is to stay at the club, we need to be winning things and not surrendering trophies for league survival. With every agonizing defeat like the one at Bolton, in which Young played a big part by missing a crucial penalty when 2-1 up, a move looks more and more likely and I think it’s becoming inevitable that Young will opt out of a new deal. The player has stated that he has always said he would put off talks to the end of the season, most likely to drum up interest, but that is not the case as he was close to agreeing a new deal shortly after Houllier’s arrival. A string of defeats will have made it easier to put talks off and it now seems that ploys such as offering Young the captain’s armband will be too little, too late.
In my opinion, although Young will be a big loss, he is more easily replaced than both Milner and Barry before him with tricky wingers in abundance in today’s game. However, Young’s record is pretty outstanding in terms of goal contributions (goals/assists) over the years at Villa and he undoubtedly hit his peak in his first full season at the club, winning the PFA Young Player of the Year in the process. His record has remained impressive, despite his goals and assists tally unsurprisingly dropping each year since, and he is topped only by Fabregas and Giggs in the list of current players in the Premier League with a better assists per game ratio. It is Giggs who he will no doubt be touted to replace were he to join United, though Liverpool and Bayern Munich are both understood to be harboring a strong interest.
His overall stats at Villa in all competitions read as follows; 178 appearances, 35 goals and 53 assists – a record not to be sniffed at from midfield, but I fear his time at Villa may be up. The fact that the club appear to be actively seeking a replacement having been linked to the likes of Lille’s Gervinho and Basel’s Shaqiri in recent weeks certainly add fuel to the fire but will he go? What do you think and if so who is the best man to replace him? In turn, is he replaceable or will it prove a more significant loss to the club? After your opinions guys and I’d just like to add again that I hope he doesn’t go but this is just my view that it looks likely!
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