Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Who You Should Buy: Aston Villa

This is the third piece of a short series in which I tell teams which players they should buy. Today I look at troubled Aston Villa.

Considering the initial reaction to the new manager, it seemed only by bringing in Messi, Xavi and Ronaldo would things calm down at Villa. But the past week has seen stress levels ease a touch. That said, Randy Lerner will certainly have to get the cheque book out [again] and the signings will have to please the fans. The trouble is he may have spent so much on the hiring and firing of managers and their back up staff that he has nothing left. Much will depend on fan expectations, which often tend to be too great: it's hard to see the squad being good enough to get the top 6 position Villa once typically held, but a few wise purchases and top 8 isn't impossible. I do think the media reaction to McLeish has slightly missed the point. Obviously supporters dislike the fact he's come from Birmingham, but it's his style that really worries them. Villa's signings may want to take this into consideration. Bringing in Lee Bowyer isn't going to help the situation.

Signing No.1 needs to be a replacement for Ashley Young. Charles N'Zogbia would be a perfect fit. This would quiet fans' fear about McLeish's managerial style as N'Zogbia brings a degree of creativity, while being a proven EPL player. Not too expensive, either.

Signing No.2 is a new goalkeeper. I don't understand why they let Brad Friedel leave, but nobody understands the madness that's hit Villa in the past few weeks. Ben Foster would do a good job. He's a solid keeper and has a strong relationship with McLeish. Being a Brum player might annoy fans, but the anger it would incite in the either half of town would delight them.

Signing No.3 would be a good fit for both sides: Charlie Adam. I'm not convinced Adam has the speed or physique for a top team like ManU or Liverpool, but he'd surely do really well at a club like Villa. He seem like a player who needs to be a starter, playing week in week out, which he'd do under McLeish.

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