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Storm Over The Return of the Crouch?


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by Pete Bosworth

Martin O'Neill's cunning plans to make Villa into the tallest team in history appear to be moving a step closer to fruition, with news that he wants Peter Crouch to come as part of the Barry transfer. PB reflects...

It seems that O'Neill knows something we don't - that the Premier League and NBA basketball are going to be merged - there can surely be no other explanation for his pursuit of every single player on the face of the planet taller than your average tree.

Following on from the acquisitions of giants like Carew, Knight, Davies and Maloney, comes the inevitable news that Wor Martin (as he'd have been called if he hadn't turned down Newcastle) wants to add the player who the word "beanpole" was invented for, The Lankster, Crouchzinho, Peter Crouch. If I knew the names of any NBA teams, I'd at this juncture be warning them to get ready, cos we are nearly set to conquer your game .... but I don't know any and I really cant be bothered to look any up, sorry.

Anyway, I'm rambling a bit, that comes with the insanity, you'll just have to deal with it. So, Peter Crouch. This proposed move seems to have split the fanbase (he says optimistically) with me and my son, Tim, thinking it will be a good deal for Villa and pretty much everyone else apparently thinking the guy is, and I quote, " a donkey who can't head the ball".

Now me, my son, and our dog (who I've just roped into the argument on our side, she knows who feeds her) think that description is a bit hard on a lad who, at the end of the day, has scored one goal every other start since his last spell at the Villa four years ago. Now he hasn't been scoring these goals in MLS, or in Belgium (or in NBA - do they have goals?) but in the Premiership, Champions League (so called because it is a knockout cup where one team in about every four is a champion) and England internationals at a time, lets be frank, where England have been so poor they have both sucked and blown.

I know, I know, its kind of traditional to laugh at Peter Crouch with his spindly legs and thin-as-a-rake physique, god knows I have laughed as long and hard as the next guy (who believe me, laughs alot) but such laughing tends to last until this ungainly spiderman striker bags a goal against you, at which point you sit there with a puzzled look on your face .... as indeed the boy did when he last played against Villa, popping up with a last minute equaliser at Anfield after coming off the bench (Gareth Barry will be doing lots of this soon - not scoring equalisers against Villa but coming off the bench with Liverpool losing at Anfield). So where was I? Oh yes, its hard not to laugh, but at the end of the day he is really and truly frighteningly effective, and as I understand it the deal that is proposed at the minute looks like this:

Aston Villa give to Liverpool a player who doesnt want to play for Villa anymore - a midfielder who scored I think 2 goals from open play last season.

Liverpool give to Aston Villa £8m PLUS a goal every other game striker who wants to come here.

Now, back when I were a lad, we used to call that a bargain. In fact, it is such a good deal you should wrap Peter Crouch up in a bag with "SWAG" written on it and sneak out of Liverpool in a black and white striped jumper (or is that called hoops when the stripes go crossways, I forget?). Take the deal and run Martin, and NBA, here we come!

PB

Disclaimer: Some parts of this article may not be intended to be taken too seriously, but I'm not going to tell you what bits, you'll have to guess.

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That's a tall story and thin on detail.

I've always had a soft spot for the high scoring badly drawn centre forward.

His real strength lies not in his height but in how far he can stretch to pick up passes, he's about 15 feet wide if he stretches out a pipe cleaner leg.

I'd welcome him back, but I'm not sure where he'd fit in.

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I'd welcome him back, but I'm not sure where he'd fit in.

that's where i'm at too, scott.

I can't see him playing WITH Big John, TBH.

so does he play instead of him? Or does he warm the bench as back up to BJ?

or will MON go with 2 big men up front?

would be an interesting signing .....

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A good read, that.

I'm not nearly as convinced about Crouchy as you are, Pete - he's a nice lad, a decent player, but being honest I didn't really see anything in him last time, or even since with Liverpool that kind of ties in with how I want Villa to play. It's a pretty abstract concept to explain, but I think basically it boils down to what Scott and Jon have said, only not quite as much - i.e. because I don't see how he'd fit in, I'm not sure I'd be pleased with a deal with Barry going out and Crouchy and some money coming in. I'd far rather that GB stayed.

I'm just not convinced that against top quality defenders or defending PC has got what it takes, and I want the club to get better. One out one in would see us with GB and PC getting less good.

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I think my basic opinion on this is that like a manager gets judged ultimately on his results, a centre forward gets judged on his goals. Peter is, statistically speaking, a goal machine. He has only had one lean spell in his career, and that was here, otherwise everywhere else he has gone, regardless of the level, he has scored goals at a frightening rate.

I think the team that uses him as a Carew style target man is going to fail, but I dont think Martin is quite that naive.

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I like Crouch, but again playing him and Carew up front? Or is this just stage one in getting rid of another dirty foreigner from our side?!

If he comes I'll welcome him back but will be interesting to see how we play with them both. I know PC is better with his feet etc insert cliche etc, but he isn't fast. Neithe rplay off each other. If it happens I would have to presume we'd be looking at a brilliant right winger to complement Young. Someone with set piece ability and pace too..

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I'm not certain the Crouch/Carew thing would be so unworkable.

Imagine being a back four and facing Crouch and Carew up top, with Young and Gabby/Milner(?)/Lennon(?) coming at you from wide? It would certainly add yet more options to the lively attack we already have.

one things for certain, it's already dragged on nearly a month and as other have said - we don't want this dragging on much longer and dominating the summer. Plus it's getting boring.

I'm pretty certain Barry is all but gone and I think 8m and crouch is a great deal, Crouch effectively becomes a freebie and if it doesn't work out he will still command a reasonable fee in a year or so.

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Aside from the fact I trust MON in everything he does I also think Crouch would be a good buy.

How many players at Euro 2008 are proven regular goalscorers ?

How many in the Prem ?

We aren't such a draw for players yet that we should be looking down on Crouch (!) as our 2nd/3rd/4th striker (after Carew). Indeed in a season where we could easily play 50 games all 4 could play regularly.

And I actually think he could play with Carew - it would be different, but not impossible.

Oh and a nice amusing article too thanks.

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Crouch and Carew can't play together in an O'Neil side, it's not the way that MON plays football. Look at all of his teams from Wycombe to Celtic and Villa, they have all been made up of one big "hold up" guy and another pacey striker. Crouch will compete with Carew, then Gabby and another signing (or maybe Delfonso or if needed Young or Maloney filling the gap) will compete for the pacey spot.

Personally I'd welcome Crouch to our striking rosta, because he's no mug and has improved on the promise that he showed last time he wore Claret and Blue. But if we are as big a club as we hope to be then that should not be at the expense of Barry. I accept that we can't offer Champions League football, but it's the job of MON and Lerner to convince Barry that we will be there soon (and to back up that conviction with quality signings) . If we really aspire to be a top four club then we should be keeping hold of the likes of Barry and also signing the kind of player to compete with the top four.

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If he came back, I think that there would be a fair number of upset fans. But I wouldn't be one as I never wanted the club to sell him in the first place. I like Crouchy because he's as down to earth and likeable as just about player out there and many people weaker than him would've crumbled at the stick he's always had to face. He's one of very few who came out of the last England era with any credibility too. It must fire him up though knowing that even if he scored 30 goals a season every season for the next 5 years that someone somewhere will 'not rate him'. The reason he's lost his spark a bit at the moment is purely down to his confidence. When things are going well and he feels loved, he has always delivered. When he's unhappy, unsettled and in and out of teams then he crumbles. He's very much all or nothing..the other thing is too, because you can't forget his frame/size - when he plays badly, you notice it so much more. Angel had a lot of poor games but no one really remembers them as much...

Barry - £8m and Crouch. Yes I would take that but I'd much rather we had Barry and Crouch but I suspect if Barry stays then MON will not want to be doing any more business with Liverpool and certainly not haggling over silly money fees.

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£8m + Crouchinho for barry is not a good deal IMO. Crouch is worth about £8m but as he has only 1 year left on his contract that value drops to about £5m. Barry is worth ~£18m. Crouch is a average player that can "do a job" but no more than that. Is he better than Carew? Not really, Can he play with Carew? Definately not. Will we see a rotation of crouch and carew if crouch does come, in my opinion, yes.

I won't be happy or sad if crouch does come but I will be unhappy if the price isn't right.

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