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

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.

Wanted Man: Ireland Interests Merseyside Duo

December 15, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
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After rumours of showdown talks with Gerard Houllier were not the first for summer signing Stephen Ireland, there have been a number of clubs become very aroused by the unmissable bald man (not really my type). Despite a pretty dismal start to his Villa career, sides are not being put off from an interest in the 24-year-old who is undoubtedly a class act at his best, which sadly for Villa is some way off. It appears to me as though the manager is unwilling to try the midfielder for two games in a row let alone a run in the first team which I believe is a shame. The player’s wages are high and with Randy Lerner looking to tighten the purse-strings somewhat on the wage bill, it could be nice knowing you Mr Ireland! A loan move has been consistently touted with Celtic and West Ham both reported as potential suitors but could we be in for another Merseyside scrap (with less kicking and punching one would hope). Liverpool have been linked with a surprise move to offer Ireland a lifeline whilst fierce rivals Everton may have to look to replace Steven Pienaar who appears to want out. I think he might make a good scouse but limited chances at Villa would surely mean limited chances at Liverpool. Stories have also been broken that the midfielder may look to get back into the international scene after falling out with the management years ago. The decision is reportedly being considered in order to put himself in the shop window after looking unimpressive from the stands last weekend! I say keep him, play him and he’ll come good but sadly I don’t think Gerard Houllier reads this blog and along with most of the Villa team, we had a falling out so he won’t listen to me! Stay or Go, what do you think?

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 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’s Dip in Form Leads to Numerous Transfer Rumours

December 5, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Aston Villa, Transfer News 

An awful run of results for Gerard Houllier has left Villa in 16th ahead of Monday night’s tie with Liverpool. Despite some decent performances a lack of results has led to a surge in the amount of players linked with the club ahead of the January transfer window. Read how reports suggest that Villa could be in for a change of No.1 as well as links to advanced midfielders and familiar faces up front. Don’t get too excited as Houllier has said that he only plans to bring in new faces in January and has also said that a striker is probably not one of them but this has not stopped the reports! Enjoy! Villa Transfer Merry-go-round!

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

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