My first rumour mill prediction appears to have come true with Robert Pires close to agreeing a deal with Villa this week. The Frenchman is unattached and therefore is available for an immediate free transfer. At 37 the veteran does represent a minor gamble on Houllier’s part but with only wages to pay to the former Arsenal man the risk is just that, minor. Pires could be in line to make the trip to Blackburn on Sunday if he passes a medical in the next two days. The player feels that this won’t be an issue having trained with his former club, Arsenal for the past two months. The signing would come in the wake of somewhat of an injury crisis at Villa Park with no fewer than 10 first teamers absent last time out. The 2002 Footballer of the Year is seen to be the perfect role model for the likes of Marc Albrighton and Barry Bannan in particular and brings a wealth of top-level experience to benefit the senior squad. Pires has the backing of old boss Arsene Wenger to succeed under compatriot Gerard Houllier at Villa with the former France international eager to get going as soon as possible.
“It’s no problem for me to play on Sunday. I’ve been training with Arsenal for two months and I’m happy and in good form.”
“Nothing’s done yet, nothing’s been signed, but the talks with Gerard Houllier are going well. Now let’s say I just have to convince the team doctor and hopefully I will sign before the end of the week.”
“The medical is set for Thursday or Friday, so we’ll see first what happens in the last meeting with Gerard Houllier and everyone else from Aston Villa. Things are going well, though. It (the deal) would be for six months or longer, but there are still some things to sort out, although I assure everyone it’s not in terms of finances.”
Below is how I reported the potential transfer rumour 2 weeks ago and the record that the potential new signing has to offer Aston Villa.
Former Arsenal winger, Robert Pires is looking for a new club after being released by Villarreal at the end of last season. The French midfielder, now 37, is unquestionably a Premier League icon having dazzled in his 5 years with the Gunners under Arsene Wenger. Pires has been training with the Arsenal reserves in order to keep fit for a return which he hopes to make in January. Pires clocked up 7,211 minutes playing time in his 103 league games with Arsenal netting an impressive 35 goals, a strike rate of a goal every 3 games (206 minutes to be precise). In his four seasons in Spain he matched his Arsenal league appearances and despite his age still had a goal per minute ratio of 1/324 in his final season with Villarreal. Robert Pires scored a memorable goal against Villa whilst at Arsenal and scored 3 in 7 against us. It is now believed that Pires is eyeing a return to England with Villa looking a very exciting option to the Frenchman who has also been linked to rivals Birmingham, Stoke and QPR.
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