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War And Peace: The Defenders


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by PauloBarnesi

In the second part of PauloBarnesi's 'War and Peace', the spotlight falls on defenders....and heck - there are a lot of them.

Sokratis Papastathopoulos (AEK Athens)

O’Neill once signed Greek legend Theodoros Zagorakis at Leicester, so some might say he has form in this part of Europe. Papastathopoulos a 20 year year old centre back, has been called one of the brightest talents in Greece, and compared to Tony Adams (though no one knows if that is the defender of the drunk Sierra driver). He has made the step up to the national side though was ommited from the Euro 2008 squad. Steve Bruce has supposedly tabled a £4 million bid

Mariusz Lewandowski (Shakhtar Donetsk)

One of those players who announces before a game that several premiership clubs are interested. People then decide we must be one of them. A defender and defensive midfielder, despite over 50 caps, he has been dubbed ‘old and average’. Gave away the penalty against Austria that led to the Polish prime minister declaring he wanted to kill the ref

Hugo Campagnaro (Sampdoria)

The Argentinan defender had an impressive season for Sampadoria, and the right back has attracted interested from Juventus (haven’t they signed some Swede?) and perennial favourites Tottenham and ourselves. How do we know this? His agent said we were.

Richard Dunne (Manchester City)

After the goings on at COMS you can’t blame Dunne wanting to leave Man City. But then a new manager, and the offer of £50000 a week seems to have lowered the chance of him moving. When Spurs and Pompey chasing him, its hard to see even if Villa were interested that we would actually move for him...

Marco Caneira (Valencia)

One of the debates I ve read is that Valencia are more likely to sign players then sell them. One big big problem. Valencia have a debt that would make a small African nation blush. Luckliy they might find a willing buyer for this Portugese right back with Villa. Recent news seems to suggest that Sporting (which would be his forth spell) would be a more likely destination.

Nicky Shorey (Reading)

Well we have a left back, but another one wouldn’t do us any harm. Shorey ticks alot of the MON boxes. He’s English, he’s playing for a team recently relegated (which would be an easy car journey from sunny Wycombe to watch) who appear to want to sell at a reasonable price. West Ham have been long admirers, but one wonders if they have any moeney in the coffers, Newcastle and even Arsenal have been mentioned. But would he really come as back up to Bouma?

Michael Lumb (AGF Aarhus)

Another left back, he’s young and Danish. Now whilst Shorey might not want to play second fiddle to Bouma, maybe U-21 international Lumb might fancy it. A fee of £1.75 has been mentioned, and Ajax, Blackburn, Hamburg, the Hammers and Udinese are supposedly admirers. One problem with this story it comes from the pen of Bill...

Stephen Carr (Newcastle)

These are the stories that fill you with dread. Villa need a right back. Newcastle release a 31 year old injury prone right back. These are also the easiest stories for lazy journalists to write; team need player, other team release player in that position. Its a 500 word piece all of a sudden and a newspaper editor off your back. Lets pray its the latter; all of MONs motovational skills can’t save a crook.

Paul Scharner (Wigan)

Every year I hear that Paul Scharner is a much undervalued ex-Austrian international player. The Telegraph said we were to battle it out with a mish/mash of other premiership clubs (Everton, Fulham, Sunderland I seem to remember) for the centre back to replace Olly. Now this could be a squad filler, or it could be the famous lazy journalist

Jonas Olsson (NEC Nijmegen)

Holland is close to England. Easy to fly from many different airports, Heathrow or Brimingham for example. Its also cheap to fly to. Olsson says he has dreamed of playing in the premiership since he was a child, and supposedly us and more likely Everton are the clubs where he could fulfill this. The 25 year old Swede (maybe we need to up our Swedish quota again?), plays in the centre or to the left of defence. Slightly omniously he has never played for the full Swedish national team

Joe Mattock (Leicester)

If players are easy to pick up from relegated sides, how easy is it to pick up players from a team relegated to division one? This might also raise the question, is a player any good if he’s been part of this relegation squad? Well West Ham made a bid in January for the England U-21 leftback who can also play in Left midfield. With Villa holding a long term interest in his team mate Richard Stearman, maybe we can pick up the pair as a deal. A lack of manager at the Walkers bowl may be slowing his departure

Pascal Chimbonda (Spurs)

A few years ago at Wigan he was named in the PFA team of the year. The rightback (we keep on hearing that) proved to be the master of diplomacy by handing a transfer request on the last day of the season and engineered a move to Spurs. No surprise when your agent is the infamous Willie McKay was involved. Now Portsmouth don’t need a right back, and McKay is probably persona non grata at Newcastle, so Villa have emerged as a destination for the troublesome rightback. Now at a rumoured £2 million the question is is this a punt worth taking.

Willy Sagnol (Bayern Munich)

Martin O’ Neill was seen recently at the Bayern Munich Getafe UEFA clash. Next thing you know; everyone playing was a Villa traget. Problem was Sagnol didn’t play that night, and tribal football who mentioned the fee of £1.5 million is hardly reliable. Now he might have asked to leave Bayern, but at the moment would Aston Villa be his first port of call?

Cata Diaz (Getafe)

Same game, different right back. A former Boca Junior Argentinan International (four caps a few years back), maybe MON can promise he will turn him back into a full international? Diaz has of course said he wants to move to a ‘great club’. And guess who else is supposedly interested, yes the team with the other Spaniard; Tottenham.

Bernard Mendy (PSG)

A French right back who has played in England (Bolton) and plays for a team that narrowly avoided relegation. A few weeks back he appeared to have signed for Fulham on a free, but it seems that was not the case though several premiership are supposedly tracking him.

Daniel van Buyten (Bayern Munich)

The former Manchester City Centre back, most famous for losing £350000 through bank fraud and the victim of Franck Ribery’s pranks, was the supposed original target at the infamous Bayern Munich game. However a change of manager at Bayern, seemed to make van Buyten decide to see what Klinsman wants and th story was in the Daily Mirror.

Cosmin Contra (Getafe)

Not another one. When the return leg occured in Spain the right back scored a wonder goal. He’s already played in the Midlands, with a short spell at the Baggies on loan from Athletico Madrid. For those who have been watching Euro 2008, maybe you can tell me how he did, apart from being interviewed on the BBC

John Paintsil (West Ham)

Even if he is an international, a man who has played less than 20 times for his club in two years hardly sets the pulses rushing. Guess what though? He plays right back. And the mirror reported it.

Richard Stearman (Leicester)

Iam sure this story surfaced first back around Easter 2007. Stearman who was Leicester’s player of the year this year, will have MON salivating. He must be cheap. He plays at right back, he’s young and he’s English. Bingo! So the question is? Is he good enough to be our number one right back? or is he the back up?

Jose Angel Crespo (Sevilla)

A Spanish U-21 international, Tribal, reported back in Novemeber that we were interested in the leftback who has also interested Monaco.

Nélson (Benfica)

Portugese. Right Back. The perfect newspaper article. If we can’t get Boswinga lets get some Nelson. A fee of around €10 million has been discussed in the papers, and he has recently been angling for a move complaining that Benfica play him too little. Again O’Neill could promise to make him a Portugese regular. According to Wikipedia he has ‘blistering pace’.

John Arne Riise (Liverpool)

A year ago, the story goes this deal was a goer. The fighting pal of Bellamy and Carew was already to join when David Gest pulled the plug. Since then his stock has fallen through the floor. He’s lost the left back spot, had his wage slip was published in a national paper, and he had a moment of madness. Liza’s ex- has told him he can go, but with relations at a low point between the clubs, and with Bouma seeming to have cemented the left back position, will he come, or would we want him?

Justin Hoyte (Arsenal)

Another of those, we mad a bid, but it didn’t work out. So called best friend of Curtis Davies, the right back (he has played at left back and in the centre of defence) the Mail claims has been the subject of a £4.5 million bid, after losing his place to Sagna. Again he ticks so many of the boxes, it would seem to be almost inevitiable.

Giourkas Seitaridis (Atlético Madrid)

A member of the 2004 Euro winning squad, part of a Greek football dynasty, the right back is said to be available and Villa are interested at €8 million. Some have said that he is the right sided equivalent of Bouma

Adriano Correia Claro (Sevilla)

When we ‘looked’ at Crespo we must have looked at Seville’s other left back. Claro is a Brazilian who can also play on the right back, however despite interest from Tottenham he has recently declared his intention to stay at Sevilla

Michael Dawson (Tottenham)

A few years ago Dawson was the next hot thing. Playing with the veteran Des Walker, he was one of the best things at Forest. The inevitiable England call up and the big money move to the premiership came. Despite being a regular at Spurs, this season will have been a mainly forgettable one and his star has waned. Can Martin O’ Neill bring him back? Or is he a lost cause likly to join up with his brother at Hull?

Steve Finnan (Liverpool)

Spot the repeating pattern; he’s a right back. Therefore we must be interested. He’s probably part of that infamous mish mash.

Joao Pereira (Sporting Braga)

Portugese. Right Back. Thats a very obvious story isn’t it? Napoli were interested, but then they signed another Villa target Maggio.

Frank Simek (Sheffield Wednesday)

A change; he’s an American (the son of a Budweiser employee), but of course he’s a right back. The good news is he will be cheap (£2 million is the figure being suggested) and Sheffield Wedesday fans seem to think he’s quite good. The bad news is that Hoyte kept him out of Arsenal side, and quite a few of us, think that being good enough for Wednesday is all that he will ever turn out to be.

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