Villa confirmed yesterday that they had accepted an offer from Liverpool in the region of £20m for last season’s Player of the Year Stewart Downing. The club also revealed that the Reds improved offer was agreed after the player had handed in a transfer request at the club, with McLeish stating that the England international was not for sale earlier in the week.
With no confirmed incoming transfers joining the club thus far in the summer the fans have a right to be concerned that the club are not only selling their best player’s but as of yet are not replacing them, despite having already received £16m up front through the sale of Ashley Young to Man United. It should be taken into consideration that both the chairman and the manager are fully aware of the need for new recruits this summer, with potential deals reportedly starting to step up following yesterday’s news.
The first transfer which the club expect to complete is that of Shay Given to replace the outgoing Brad Friedel, with a fee believed to have been agreed and a medical seeming the only stumbling block after the keeper agreed to a wage cut from his apparent £80,000 a week pay packet at Eastlands. It has also been reported today that the club have lodged a £7m bid for West Ham midfielder Scott Parker with the supposed fee falling just shy of the Championship sides initial valuation of £8m. If Villa are to sign the Football Writer’s Player of the Year than they will have to fight off stiff competition, not least from the 30-year-old’s former employers Chelsea. The blues are believed to be in discussions with their London rivals to try to secure Parker’s services on a season-long loan following the long-term injury to Michael Essien, though new manager Villas-Boas may have to stump up £4m to do so.
In other news, Villa are apparently preparing to test Wigan’s resolve over Charles N’Zogbia after the Latics bumped up their asking price for the Frenchman. N’Zogbia, 25, is entering the last year of his contract which is all but certain to force Dave Whelan into a sale, but talks of a fee of as much as £20m are laughable, valuing the former Newcastle man at £4m higher than Ashley Young. McLeish was seemingly ready to do business at the initial £9m believed price tag but I would suggest that Wigan won’t accept anything less than £12m for their star man.
Finally, the club have been linked with a renewed interest in Spartak Moscow playmaker Aiden McGeady with the Irishman believed to be unsettled in Russia following a move from Celtic last season. The 25-year-old can play wide and in behind the striker so could be seen as a like-for-like replacement for Ashley Young. A new target suggested is Fiorentina’s Juan Manuel Vargas, Peru’s international team captain and an attacking left-footed winger, more in the ilk of Downing. A fee of around £12m has been suggested though the player recently rebuffed talk that he would leave the Serie A side this summer. In 19 starts last season the 27-year-old netted 4 goals and assisted a further 5.
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