Bridge to Choose Between Villa and West Ham

January 10, 2011 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Transfer News 

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…

Houllier Rebuffed in £2.5m Adam Bid

January 10, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
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Villa manager Gerard Houllier has reportedly had a £2.5m offer for Blackpool talisman Charlie Adam rejected. The midfielder, who arrived from Scottish giants Rangers in 2009 for £500,000, quickly proved to be a bargain for Ian Holloway’s side and was made captain of the club just months after joining. The 25-year-old proved instrumental in Blackpool’s promotion to the Premier League last season, as the club’s top goalscorer and playmaker. Since then he has attracted interest from a number of Premier League club’s and has continued to impress in the top-flight this year. He played alongside countrymen Barry Bannan at the Seasiders last year while the young Villan enjoyed a loan spell with the club. The Scotland international has played 18 times in the league this term, scoring 3 and setting up another 3 as well as netting in his only League Cup appearance this campaign. Last year he netted an impressive 16 times in the league as a mainstay in the Blackpool squad with 43 appearances. In those 43 games he also set up 9 goals for his teammates but did pick up 13 yellows in the process. He has already served a one match suspension after receiving 5 cautions this term. Adam has 6 senior international caps after struggling to break into the team behind the likes of captain Darren Fletcher. Alex McLeish is also thought to hold a firm interest in Adam after managing him at Rangers but a bid of £2m falls short of that offered by Villa and is set to be laughed off with Blackpool’s valuation of their skipper still unknown. I like this link a lot and am pleased that Houllier has spotted such a talent at home rather than having to scour the ranks abroad. I believe a bid of around £4m would be well worth an effort, what do you think the midfielder is worth and is he worth pursuing?

Villa to Use Reo-Coker in Barton Barter

January 10, 2011 by · 3 Comments
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After breaking the news that Villa were interested in a cut price deal for Joey Barton a few weeks back, many of you were torn as to whether signing the troublesome midfielder would be good business. After Newcastle rejected talk that Barton could be sold for as little as £1.5m, Villa manager Gerard Houllier seemingly cooled his interest. However, in the Daily Mail today they reported that the Frenchman was willing to use Nigel Reo-Coker in a part-exchange deal for the ex-Man City man. Reo-Coker is yet to renew a contract with the club as his deal runs out in the summer, despite the manager stating that he wanted the tireless midfielder to stay. The former West Ham manager is reportedly holding out for more money than Houllier is willing to offer and talks appear to have broken down. It now seems that the boss is trying to cut his losses amid fears that the vice-captain could leave the club on a free at the end of the season, by using Reo-Coker in a like-for-like swap with Barton. What do you make of this suggestion? With a low fee touted for Barton previously, surely it can’t have risen too significantly to have to depart with a first team regular and cash to land the controversial midfielder. In my opinion they are pretty similar in calibre and qualities although Barton does possess some of the creative and passing attributes in which Reo-Coker is lacking. I personally don’t really want Barton at the club as I feel it would cause further detriment to an already shattered harmony within the squad but what do you think? Does Barton have the passion and playmaking abilities that Villa seem to be lacking in the middle of the park?

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?

Pipe Down Pires

January 9, 2011 by · 5 Comments
Filed under: Hot topic debates, Villa Manager 

Robert Pires piled pressure on Houllier yesterday after revealing that the dressing room was not behind the manager over the weekend. The veteran French midfielder confirmed his frustration at limited chances since arriving at Villa Park, stating that his manager didn’t have confidence in him and frankly neither do I. Since joining, his few appearances have been uninspiring to say the least and age has definitely caught up with the Frenchman who struggles to jog let alone run. Despite this, the former Arsenal legend was recalled to the side in the FA Cup against Sheffield Untied but failed to impress once again. Pires came out in the press for the second time in quick succession to try and shed light on the issues behind the scenes at the club. Although I feel the fans deserve to know some of the background problems once they start affecting results, which they clearly have, it is not the place of any player to do so and the old-hand should keep his mouth shut on the matter. I find that such revelations usually come from players who fail to do their talking on the pitch and therefore feel they deserve the chance to heighten fears of the fans. The 36-year-old also said he feared the club could well be relegated if the harmony at the club doesn’t change. How such comments are supposed to improve the harmony rather than cause detriment to the atmosphere are beyond me and the no longer golden oldie should focus on football rather than media limelight and lay-off a manager who gave him a fantastic last opportunity in the best league in the world! To read Pires comments in full click the link here

Di Matteo and Shorey Urge Carew Move, Petrov Says Don’t Go

January 7, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
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John Carew – discuss… The former Villa favourite has had a dismal beginning to a stop-start season in which he has re-fallen out with former manager Gerard Houllier and produced some abject and effortless displays in front of his adoring Villa fans who are becoming less so with every day it seems. The Norwegian, now 31, is yet to score in any competitions this season, missing a penalty in the process, and has slipped to the bottom of the striker pecking order. The big man has not even been involved in warming the Villa bench in the last month after disagreements with the boss over some pretty unoffensive comments in the press. With his contract out at the end of the season, Houllier urged Carew to prove that he warranted a new contract and was met by angry reactions from the striker after the quotes were allegedly ‘lost in transaction’ between somewhere between Birmingham and Norway (if you can find them please let me know as I can’t really see the Carew’s problem?). West Brom were linked with an interest last month and in the last couple of days, manager Roberto Mancini has confirmed a desire for Carew to make the short switch. To read the Italian’s comments along with input from ex-Villa, now Baggie, Nicky Shorey and Villa captain Stiliyan Petrov, click here

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?

Collins Joins Long List of Could Be ‘Leavers’

January 6, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
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Centre-back James Collins has become the latest Villa player to be linked away from the club in a supposed impending cull of the current squad by manager Gerard Houllier. The rumours regarding the Frenchman are somewhat surprising considering the 27-year-old is the only man of Villa’s backline yet to fall out of favour at some stage with the boss. Despite this, the likes of Stoke and Blackburn have been linked with an interest in Collins which one would normally say would be a step backward for the defender but this season has seen Villa slump to 18th place after finishing 6th in the previous 3 campaigns under Martin O’Neill. Tony Pulis, who has also recently denied a link to Villa midfielder Stephen Ireland, is supposedly a long-standing admirer of the no-nonsense centre-back but he apparently faces competition from Blackburn. Collins only joined the club at the start of last season in a deal believed to be worth around £5m but skysports sources have revealed that the player is one of those who could be offloaded under the new management. The Rovers link is an interesting one after Houllier was recently reported to following the progress of Christopher Samba after the defender handed in a transfer request under new manager Steve Kean. A swap deal had been touted to include Curtis Davies but it now seems that Kean would prefer Collins in exchange. If this is the case then the suggested £5m kicker fee to support the supposed Davies switch would surely be cut with Collins unlikely to have lost much of his £5m value after an impressive first season for the club. Would you welcome a swap deal for Samba and how much, if any would you suggest that Villa would need to fork out along with the Welshman.

Pires Piles Pressure on Houllier in ‘Decisive’ Next Games

January 5, 2011 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Villa Manager 

Villa’s new signing, French veteran Robert Pires has heaped more pressure on Gerard Houllier after claiming the impressive 3-3 draw with Chelsea did little to relieve the strain on the under fire boss. The 36-year-old is claiming that the next two games against Sunderland, tonight, and Sheffield United in the FA Cup this weekend could well be make or break with regards to his manager’s future at Aston Villa. The winger also confirmed a certain amount of unrest in the dressing room since his arrival with many of the player’s disagreeing with Houllier’s training and tactical policies. Talking to the Sun on Tuesday, Pires revealed that he is confident that the 63-year-old can turn the club’s fortunes around but feels the next two results could be crucial for his compatriots survival in the job. Read the full interview with Villa’s ageing ex-Arsenal icon here

No-Go for French Duo but Jamaican Could be Cummings

January 3, 2011 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Transfer News 

After holding talks with French under-19 captain Gueida Fofana, Gerard Houllier has revealed that a deal is unlikely having seemingly disagreed on a wage package for the youngster. Fofana is hotly tipped to be a big talent in his native France and has been touted as the next Patrick Vieira during his time at Ligue 2 side Le Havre. It appeared that Houllier had stolen a march on a number of prospected rival bidders in agreeing a fee for the 19-year-old but a deal now seems dead in the water. Fellow Frenchman and senior team international centre-back Adil Rami is also a no-go for Houllier after the 25-year-old has apparently agreed terms with Valencia. A bid in excess of £10m may have put Villa off making a stronger effort to contest for Rami’s signature who will join the Spanish side at the end of the current season, where he will continue to turn out for Ligue 1 side Lille. In more positive news it seems a deal to bring MLS star Omar Cummings to the club on a short term loan deal could soon be in the offing. The striker, who is equally adept in a wide role, flew to England for a trial with the Midlands club with a view to a loan deal being agreed during the off season of the American league. If a deal is completed, pending a work permit being granted, the 28-year-old will join until March. To view Houllier’s comments on the potential deals for Fofana and Cummings, Read more

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