Aston Villa are believed to be in the running to sign West Ham centre midfield duo Scott Parker and Thomas Hitzlsperger, with the latter possibly the more likely, but if push came to shove, who should Villa opt for?
When it comes to a fee there is no doubt that former fans favourite Hitzlsperger offers better value for money due to the fact that he will be available for free. Parker on the other hand is likely to demand a fee certainly in excess of £5m and probably closer to £8m, which for a 30-year-old is a little pricey but the player’s talent means there is very little risk in my opinion.
If you look at the likelihood of Parker joining a club like Villa it is significantly slimmer than the prospect of a return to Villa Park for Thomas Hitzlsperger due to the number of suitors the England international will attract. Add to this reports today suggesting that his German teammate has his sights set on a return to the Midlands and ‘Der Hammer’ becomes a far more viable alternative after a source close to the 29-year-old stated: “Thomas wants to go back to Villa. He enjoyed some great times there.”
If you look at the two players’ comparable stats from last term, considering the fact that Hitzlsperger missed much of the season through injury, the two offer differing qualities. In terms of pass success rate, Parker edges matters having completed an average of 83% of his passes per game, compared to Hitzlsperger’s 80%. However, when you consider that Hitz completed 2.3 crosses per game compared to Parker’s 0.2, things start to balance out. The German also attempted slightly more passes a match, 46.8 compared to Parker’s 45.1.
In terms of creativity from midfield, the former Villan is probably the more attractive option once again. In fact, in just 11 games, Hitzlsperger racked up more league assists than any other West Ham player and twice as many as Parker did in 32 games with 4. He also topped the team charts in the amount of key passes completed per game, averaging a hugely impressive 3.1 while Parker achieved an average of 1.3. Hitzlsperger netted his 3 goals in all competitions in a third of the games in which his English counterpart netted 7.
Things begin to change when you look at the players’ defensive contributions and if Villa were looking for a replacement for ex-Hammer Nigel Reo-Coker than they need look no further than Parker in my opinion. The 30-year-old made a team high of 3.8 tackles per game and another team high of 2.6 interceptions a match. Both significantly trump Hitzlsperger’s figures of 1.7 and 1.4 in the same regard.
To conclude I think a deal for either would be good business for the club but the signing of Parker would make a far bigger signal of intent from the club and a fee of around £7m would represent a decent deal for a player who probably still has 3 years of regular first team action in him. In terms of Hitzlsperger, assuming he’s injury free, there is very little risk in a free transfer and who out of us hasn’t missed the odd screamer at Villa Park. Signing both seems a popular option but I think it would hinder the likes of Barry Bannan and Fabian Delph once again with Jean Makoun and Stiliyan Petrov already in place so, if pushed, I’d opt for Parker, but only just!
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