Villa the Busiest and Best Team in the Transfer Window?

February 1, 2011 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Transfer News 

There are so many ways to look at the recent ridiculous dealings in the transfer window it is hard to decide on who comes out best but surely Villa, having been the busiest team with 4 incomings and 4 outgoings, are up there. In January Gerard Houllier managed to sign a young right-back, already being tipped for a senior England call-up, two vastly experienced international midfielders with age still on their side, and one of the league’s most proven goalscorers of the last decade. Well done Gerard! The potential £24m price tag for Darren Bent seemed a little ludicrous but in the context of what went on yesterday we could get done for robbery! Jean Makoun was cheaper than first thought it seems with Gerard Houllier stating that he folked out just £5m for the Cameroonian. Michael Bradley joined on loan yesterday and is highly rated in his native America having played 50 senior international caps at just 23. He joined on loan along with Tottenham full-back Kyle Walker, whose first 3 games have given much encouragement to the Villa fans, not least due to a fantastic solo effort on his debut. Add to these signings the significant wage bill slashing due to departures of the out-of-favour Carew, Sidwell, Davies and Ireland and Gerard Houllier will be sitting far prettier on his Villa perch! So how do you rate Villa’s transfer dealings this summer against our Premier League rivals? Has Houllier turned you round? To read my full round-up of why Villa can consider themselves well-off this February click here

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.

Where’s Carew Going? Stoke Apparently! Medical Passed

January 20, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
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Specualtion has been rife surrounding the future of John Carew at Aston Villa but it now seems the former favourite may have played his last game for the club against the Blues last weekend. Since the 1-1 draw Villa have signed Darren Bent, a move which many believe will signal the end for the Norwegian under Gerard Houllier. The pair fell out over some pretty innocent comments regarding Carew’s expiring contract, which the striker took offence to. Since then Carew has failed to feature from the start, other than Sunday’s recall through injury and then a series of other ‘injuries’. Either way his heart doesn’t look in it anymore and it looks like he may be on his way with a loan move looking likely, with a view to what would be a free transfer come the end of the season. West Brom were thought to be favourites up until yesterday after holding a long term interest but it appears that Stoke may well have jumped ahead of the Baggies in the queue. Sunderland were also linked with a cheeky bid after Villa poached prize asset Darren Bent although this seems least likely. Despite Roberto Di Matteo’s admitted interest, it appears that Tony Pulis were willing to offer the club and player a more rewarding financial package. If Stoke were to get their man, who they have stated is a “a quality player and someone we would be interested in” then it has been touted to pave the way for a move to Sunderland for Ricardo Fuller, to replace Bent. Carew has now passed a medical at the Britannia Stadium and is expected to sign on loan until the end of the season, ahead of the weekend’s games. Confusing merry-go-round stuff!

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

Carew Set For West Brom Switch

December 27, 2010 by · 4 Comments
Filed under: Transfer News 

It was reported in the Daily Mail yesterday that John Carew would snub interest from Fulham and Birmingham to join another of Villa’s local rivals, West Brom. The Baggies are thought to be keen to offer support to summer signing Peter Odemwingie up front after the likes Antoine Fortune have failed to sparkle this season and Di Matteo sees the big man as the perfect foil for the pacy Nigerian. Carew is believed to prefer the prospect of the short switch to WBA after gaining a status as somewhat of an icon at Villa Park. There is also interest from Europe with the likes of Fiorentina among potential suitors though the Norwegian is thought to fancy a stay in the Premier League. With his contract set to expire in the summer and after a bust up with the new manager, who incidentally shipped Carew off to Villa from Lyon, it now appears that a cut price deal in the region of £1m should be enough to see a sale. All I can say is that if it does come to fruition West Brom will have a bargain on their hands despite the fact that Carew is not the player he was it seems a dip in form and work rate may be due to a lack of love for any club ran by the French manager!

McLeish Denies Carew Link

December 23, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
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With John Carew out of contract next summer and pretty far away from convincing Houllier to reconsider a contract extension, reports mounted regarding a controversial bid from Birmingham. The Blues have picked up a habit of picking up Villa fringe players in recent years but this one is way too far fetched. Your welcome to Craig Gardner and Liam Ridgewell and you would be welcome to Carew on his current form but the big man is a cult icon at Villa Park and a switch to St Andrews would surely be suicide for the Norwegian. Carew’s recent decline has been extremely disappointing to see after the giant forward built up a strong affinity with the Villa faithful and all Villa fans would love to see him back to his best without question. Despite this, his heart doesn’t look in it anymore and fitness issues combined with a lack of effort have seen him fall below Nathan Delfouneso in the forward pecking order. McLeish confirmed that he was an admirer of Carew, and that’s all you’ll ever be mate, but a move had not been considered.

“I have always liked John Carew as a player and I tried to take him to Rangers.

“But he is not someone I have thought about.”

How do you feel about the recent John Carew demise? Will you be sad to see him go or is it good riddance as far as your concerned?

Ireland Interests West Ham

December 14, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
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The latest transfer link between Aston Villa and Premier League struggler’s West Ham has seen Stephen Ireland, already touted as a Villa flop, emerge as a target for the West London club. Recent reports have suggested numerous potential dealings between the two clubs with Carew also appearing as an option for Avram Grant. In the opposite direction Villa have been linked with the likes of Carlton Cole, Frederic Piquionne and Scott Parker, with all the suggestions undoubtedly set to spark swap deal theories. A move for West Ham talisman Parker still seems to be wishful thinking on Villa’s part as the clubs captain has been repeatedly protected from any such movement and has also recently signed a new long-term deal. Also the interest in Ireland has been reported as the club feel that he may well be the perfect attacking force to partner the bullish Parker in centre midfield. The stumbling block will no doubt prove to be the player’s wages after joining from money bags Man City in the summer. The Irishman is one of Villa’s top earners and his inconsistent start at Villa has led him to be linked with moves away. A loan move would be most likely though Celtic are also thought to be vying for the 24-year-old’s signature.

Friedel Quashes Bust-Up Reports

Aston Villa keeper Brad Friedel has been quick to deny reports of a bust-up between Richard Dunne and assistant manager, Gary McAllister. The rumours come as one of many stories regarding a lack of harmony at the club since new manager Gerard Houllier’s arrival three months ago. Dunne was dropped from the Villa starting line-up along with fellow countryman Stephen Ireland who was omitted from the squad entirely. Many Villa fans had been calling for the move to replace Dunne with the returning Carlos Cuellar for some time and it had first appeared that Houllier had been heeding this call. However, suggestions were made of a bust-up between the Villa centre back and Houllier’s right hand man which had apparently shocked much of the Villa squad and may have led to his demotion to the bench. Friedel stated that the side were lacking confidence after a dismal run and that meetings had been held with and without members of staff between the players. When asked of the reported fracas between McAllister and Dunne he said:

“I never saw a proper bust-up at all, although I know he was left out of the team on Saturday.”

More rumours circulated today that yet another Villa player had fallen foul in Gerard Houllier’s Christmas card list. According to sources from the Daily Mail, Habib Beye was involved in an angry confrontation with Houllier during a routine training match. It is reported that the defender reacted furiously to being told to curb his tackling and of his lack of opportunities at the club. Beye has already been linked with a move away in Villa Park to cut the club’s wage bill as one of the bench-warmers of the side. If the reports are true then he may well be a step closer to a departure and if factual, then he would join the likes of Dunne, Ireland and Carew who have been rumoured to be on bad terms with the new Villa management. What do you make of all the apparent lack of harmony behind the scenes? Is it all being blown out of proportion or are the mounting stories a concern under Houllier who has appears to be incapable of staying out of the papers of late.

Aston Villa Performances Overshadowed by Dismal Results

December 3, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Match Reports 

After a day to grieve over what was really a hit and run from the Blues on Wednesday I have had time to reflect and collect my thoughts! It seems at the moment that Aston Villa cannot buy a win and if you can find me a manager whose new job has started with worse luck then Gerard Houllier I’m all ears. A dominant and much improved performance from the forgettable 0-0 draw at Villa Park last month still saw Villa knocked out of the League Cup. A Semi-final with West Ham awaited which almost had me sobbing into my lonely corner of shame as Villa looked to build on their Final appearance last season. Without sounding too much like a broken record, Villa couldn’t really have been missing many more players once again against the Blues though a goal-scoring return did give us fans something to cheer. Still, poor defending in the first half and a lack of cutting edge meant that all Villa’s possession and passing football came to nothing in a 2-1 defeat at St Andrews.

Extended Match Report and Ratings

Aston Villa Face Blues in Must Win Quarter Final: Match Preview

November 29, 2010 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Match Previews 

Villa travel the short journey to St. Andrews in what is a massive League Cup Quarter Final draw with fierce rivals Birmingham City. The two sides met last month, producing probably the dullest derby in decades and a strong contender for worst Premier League game of the season. Villa were riddled with injuries and remain severely depleted as they look to turn around a poor run of results. A spirited comeback against Arsenal on Saturday was all in vain due to a dire first half display but did encourage some fans ahead of the nail biting clash on Wednesday. Houllier’s side have won just 1 in 9 in the league though they qualified for this stage of the cup with a tense 2-1 extra-time win over Championship Burnley. Birmingham reached the Quarter Finals at the expense of League One Brentford who pushed the Blues all the way but were beaten in a penalty shoot-out. Read more

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