It was revealed today that Villa had rejected a second offer from Liverpool for Stewart Downing in the region of £15m, with the club holding out for a reported £19m for last season’s Player of the Year.
The sale of the England international will undoubtedly be met to choruses of boos from much of the Villa support but in my opinion a little perspective is needed. Downing was somewhat of a revelation last term, but let’s not forget that he shone in a failing side and if we had been offered £19m for him this time last year, or even any sort of profit on the £12m we spent two seasons ago, I would wager that the vast majority of Villa fans would have accepted it.
Don’t get me wrong, the turnaround of Downing’s Villa career after a difficult start hampered by injury is purely down to the players performances, for which he deservedly earned the club’s Player of the Year gong last term. However, the former Middlesbrough man is replaceable and if rumours are true that the club may close in on the £9m signing of Charles N’Zogbia, I believe getting double that for Downing who is a year older would be good business.
Add to this the fact that is widely suspected that the player has his heart set on a switch to Anfield and a sale may be in the clubs best interests. Importantly though, any sale should first be covered by the signing of a couple of players, ideally wingers, from the sale of Ashley Young.
Many will say that £15m isn’t enough for an England international who has improved since his £12m switch to Villa Park, and they would be right, hence why the club have rejected a deal which they could have easily cashed in on. Comparing the price tag to the likes of Jordan Henderson’s £20m move to the same team is not relevant to Aston Villa in my opinion, and if we can bring in two top quality players from the likes of N’Zogbia, Parker, Adam etc. from a sale, than the squad is always more important than the individual. Especially when the individual seemingly wants out.
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