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Villa Set to Open Transfer Dealings as Players Return for Pre-Season

The latest instalment of Aston Villa Blog’s partnership with fellow fan site Aston Villa Life has been sent in by editor and guest blogger Matt Turvey and is based around potential transfer dealings as the players return to pre-season training.

With pre-season kicking off today, it is likely to finally be the start of movement in the transfer market.  All through the summer we have waited with baited breath for new players but, with Alex McLeish coming in during the summer and needing to train with the squad, it is understandable why nothing has happened.

Of course, our first priority has to be a goalkeeper.  With Brad Friedel having signed for Spurs, leaving only Messrs Guzan and Marshall at the club, it is imperative that Villa sign an experienced keeper.  As Ali al-Habsi has moved to Wigan on a permanent basis, the main candidates for transfer are Shay Given and Ben Foster.

Both of these players offer different things for the team with Given being a solid, if short term, appointment, whereas Foster is a more expensive and longer term player.  In a world where price was no issue, then I would wholeheartedly plump for Foster.  However depending on the necessity to increase the squad depth, we may not be able to spend £10m on a keeper.

Speaking of keepers, I’ve always wondered why teams value keepers relatively cheaply compared to strikers for example.  Why?  Well, of course, a striker has to score goals to win matches, but a keeper is often just as responsible at the other end.  It just strikes me as strange that £10m seems like nothing for a striker, but an excessive amount for a goalie.

Beyond the keeping issue, the only other necessity that we have is the purchase of a defensive midfielder.  Detractors of this idea will suggest that we have an abundance of central midfielders.  To that end, I would agree, although it appears most of our central midfielders are wanting to get forward but, with the exception of Petrov, we have no dedicated players in the defensive role.

I have mentioned this name on numerous occasions on my site and in my newspaper column, but for me the man who is suited to this role is Scott Parker.  Not only does Parker play the defensive midfield role well, but he has an excellent work rate and would be a lynch pin for the midfield.

In a central midfield that could comprise Parker, Makoun and Barry/Delph, there would be the right mix of industry and skill and this, I believe, would be the start of a dedicated spine of a team.

If we have any more money beyond these two purchases, then we really need wingers and a dominating centre half.  To my mind, the winger replacement largely revolves around whether Downing leaves.  If he does, then I think we need to contemplate a move for someone like Niko Kranjcar.  That is, however, on the basis that we have already signed N’Zogbia to replace Ashley Young as he has been heavily linked in recent weeks.  Of course wingers themselves only need to be purchased if we are going to play wide and, at present, we don’t know what formation we might be lining up with next year.

It has been a very long and arduous summer for those of us who write daily about the trials and tribulations of Aston Villa, but we may be seeing the start of a lively and bright future for the club.  Now I just have to get used to singing “Alex McLeish’s Claret and Blue Army”.  Still sounds weird but I’m sure we will get used to it.

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