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War And Peace: The Villa Targets


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By PauloBarnesi

Over the next few days, PauloBarnesi will be looking over the many, many players that we've been linked with this summer....

Hard to believe that the season has been over a mere four weeks, and only four weeks until it starts again with the Intertoto cup. Since West Ham we have said goodbye to a few players; some will be missed (Olof), some we hope never to see again (Berger) and the ‘infamous’ threadbare squad looks even thinner than before. Even now we are hearing that fringe players like Maloney and Harewood might be leaving, and that reserve regulars Wayne Routledge and Salifou have more of a role to play. Its hardly inspiring stuff, and with some us more interested in the signings at Tottenham, nerves are undoubtly jangling. Certainly those who want a ‘big’ name to calm them, won’t have been excited with noises from Sid Cowans; he has pinpointed three of our youngsters, Nathan Delfouneso, Ciaran Clark and Nathan Baker to make the move to the first team. Whilst without a doubt these three have a bright future ahead, the next season may come to quickly for them to make their mark. With all the talk of Gareth Barry leaving, the other Barry, Barry Bannan is probably another name who will start to appear more often with the words Aston Villa first team.

But enough of the gloom, because one thing is for sure, like death and taxes, Aston Villa will make a signing at some point this summer. But who will that be; a good surprise like Carew or one that makes us suicidal? Now we can see some patterns in his signings and hopefully from all the links we can work out who might be that signing. He likes British players, a look through his signings everywhere will show that; yes the odd foreigner turn up (sometimes from the most obscure place; Salifou is a prime example), but you are more likely to see James British Isles rather than Johnny Foreigner. MON also likes players who have something to prove; ones who have been rejected by their club is a classic MON player; Savage, Izzet, Sutton and Alan Thompson all spring to mind, and more recently Routledge, Harewood and Nigel Reo-Coker. Another thing is none of this is easy for Martin. He worries about money, and he worries about the player being right. Its a strange one; give him 15 minutes at half term and his ability to analyse and galvanise seems second to none. Give him a lot of time and immmeasurable possibilities, and a kind of paralysis breaks out. Whilst Harry Redknapp likes nothing more than taking a ‘punt’, MON likes every angle to be covered; some would argue he can deal more with a mediocre player he knows like his own family, rather than a player who is almost a stranger.

So with this in mind lets have a look at the names we have linked with; its reached over 90 and seems to grow by the day. Now some of these players won’t ever be seen at Villa Park, but we suspect that some of them will and they will get the chance to wear the mighty claret and blue. So will they be a good or bad one?


Brad Friedel (Blackburn).

Friedel seems to be a player who has been around for what seems an eternity; he was originally a target for Nottingham Forest; where guess who spotted him? Yes, Ian Storey Moore, who now of course heads up Villa’s scouting operation. On his day, like against Manchester United last season, he can almost single handly keep at bay the top teams. At 37 he’s no spring chicken, but as a no. 1 for the next couple of seasons, he would bring some quality between the sticks. Now a great deal will depend on whether the new manager at Blackburn decides to cash in the last two years of his contract. Friedel has also stated on occasion how settled he feels at Blackburn. So if the call came from the Ulsterman came would he come?

Joe Hart (Manchester City)

In a strange season, Hart a mere 20 years old saw off Rudolf’s son and Swedish number one Isaksson. Rumours spread that he was dissatsified with his current contract, which led to the Villa link and the figure of £10 million being mentioned. Undoubtly an emerging talent, it would seem that Mark Hughes (unless he made a move for Friedel) would do everything to keep him and Manchester City would seem not to have to sell.

Ben Foster (Manchester United)

Another England future number one, and formerly loan star at Watford, where Boothyrod announced he would become the best keeper in th world. Born in Leamington Spa, O’Neill has been rumoured to want to take him on loan, and with van der Saar and former Baggy Tomasz Kuszczak ahead on him, and good relations between MON and Fergie you can see a loan move happening.

Paul Robinson (Spurs)

Will it be second time luck for us? The man who could have been O’Leary’s first signing famously rejected us (was it something Doug said). Last season was without a doubt a disaster for Robinson on every level. Both club (well he was behind some of the worst defending known to man) and international form deserted him. Fitting the pattern of a fallen player, you can see Martin O’Neill making a move. Would his famous man management skills and sitting behind a more coherent defensive unit bring out the best in him, or should we hope that Southgate snaps him up?

Sergio Asenjo (Real Valladolid)

One thing is for sure. Our scout seems to like spending time in Spain and Portugal as much as Big Ron does. Since last season every second player link seems to have come from these two countries. I won’t lie and try to wing it; I don’t know that much about these leagues and so information is perhaps at a minimal. A fee of £3.3 million has been mentioned, and the 18 year old has sensibly said ‘It would be a dream’ and his agent, Fernando Redondo, said: “There has been interest from some English clubs but we are still yet to receive a formal offer.” If he does come its been speculated he would be a number two

Yoann Pele (Le Mans)

Any player with a name that starts with a P ends with an e and has e and l in the middle is going to stir some curiosity. A few years back he was supposedly an Arsenal target, but despite being watched the offer never came. His agent Duro Ivanisevic, revealed: “There is a very attractive offer from an English club; “I can’t say who it is now, no, but you’ll know in a week ...”. that was over a month ago. He was one of the 55 players that L’Equipe named as possible inclusions for the French Euro 2008 squad, but he never made it to Switzerland and Austria

Heurelho Gomes (PSV Eindhoven)

A sometime Brazilian international, and PSV cult hero, nicknamed the Octopus. After the disastrous management period of Koemann, Gomes apparently fell out with PSV and he’s been a target for a number of clubs, most recently a £9 million target for Tottenham who had an offer rejected, and Arsenal and Milan

Carlo Cudicini (Chelsea)

There was a time when Cudicini was the flavour of the month. Then Cech arrived and proved to be the man who could help win Chelsea the league. Since then Carlo has become a league cup specialist, occasional cover for an increasinly injury prone Cech and collected alot of money. As he seems to be happy being number two to Cech, its hard to imagine him deciding that the Midlands is the next career move to make

Carlos Kameni (Espanyol)

A Cameroonian playing in Spain? Sounds far too exotic for Martin, but you never know, if he can find a Tongelese in the Swiss second division. Voted the best African goal keeper in 2006-7 he nearly appeared at Wolves, but failed to get a work permit. He was supposedly a target for our friends Tottenham and Manchester United. His buy out clause is believed to be under £5 million, and the arrival of Cristian Alvarez may suggest he will leave sooner rather than later.

Boaz Myhill (Hull)

Everthing thing about Myhill is a bit curious; he was born in America, to an American father and Welsh mother. He then appeared for the English youth team, before finally making it as a Welsh international, though he could have appeared for any of the home countries. Now we all know he was at Aston Villa, until he was sold for £50000 by Peter Taylor at Hull. In a typical piece of old Villa short sightedness, he appears to have become quite good in the mean time. The fact that he once played for us seems to be the main factor driving this story.

Wayne Hennessey (Wolves)

Whilst Myhill has appeared once for Wales, Hennessey seems to be the one that has got the Welsh excited. Part of a supposedly golden generation, with Bale and Ramsey, he has seen off Matt Murray (who was a name we were linked with a few years back) to claim the Wolves shirt at the age of 20. MON loves to watch players, and its been rumoured that he’s watched Hennessey more than a few times, and Wenger is again believed to be another interested party. He was named in the PFA Championship side, and was 22 in the FourFourTwo Top 50 Football League Players. This story is a favourite with the lcoal press as they for once can see the story unfold from both sides of the fence

Mark Oxley (Rotherham)

Another youngster at 19 years old, little is known of him, bar that he has supposedly had a week long trial at Villa. Now he has never made an appearance for Rotherham (who are it seems always on the verge bankruptcy), but according to the ever reliable Sunday Mirror Arsenal, Chelsea, Everton and Manchester City were stunned when Villa took him one trial. One suspects that Mr Oxley senior works for the press

Artur Boruc (Celtic)

A few months ago Boruc appeared at Villa Park as the guest of a football agent. A website added two and two together and said that Villa were interested. But they also said MON had tapped him up. Wrong move. MON sued and gained an apology and substanial damages. One thing is for sure though; Boruc’s appearances for Celtic and for Poland will have made Martin O’ Neill well aware of him. Despite not being from a fair isle, a few years north of the border will have acclimatised the controversial Pole. Now whilst we could argue to the cows come home about the size of club, Villa’s lack of champion league football may prove to be a deal breaker with Milan supposedly being interested.

Brad Guzan (Chivas USA)

Well here is a player we know a) wants to come to Villa and B) we want to sign. The question is whether we will ever be obtain a work permit for this MLS player of the year?

Scott Carson (Liverpool)

At one time probably around the time he kicked a long ball up to Gabby to score against Everton or Middlesborough, you would have said this was a player who would become a permament fixture at Villa. But on a wretched night at Wembley Martin O’Neill and Rafa Benitez must have reached the same thought; this isn’t a £10 million goalkeeper. Ever since then MON has backed himself slowly and now more rapidly out of this deal. The former Charlton player of the year seems stuck in limbo as Benitez seems to believe that someone somewhere will give him £10 million. Perhaps time to stop playing Football Manager 2008 Rafa?

Marton Fulop (Sunderland)

Fulop of course was playing for Leicester (on loan) when they memorably knocked us out of the Carling Cup. A Hungarian international (that doesn’t fill many with confidence), the ex-Spurs keeper, seems to be surplus to requirement. The rumour is he has been scouted by Villa and would come in as a number two. Bill Howell was the source

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I'm still none the wiser about who will be between the sticks come season KO. :winkold:

my guess at this point would be Fozzy on loan from The Scum for a season, with Guzan also coming in as number two, to learn his trade.

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