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Those stories that just won't go away right now


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by AVFCBristol

Those stories that just won't go away right now...

So, today in the Daily Mail there is a report that, for all intents and purposes, states that Martin O'Neill is considering a 2-for-1 deal with his Spurs counterpart to bring in David Bentley as well as either Didier Zokora or Tom Huddlestone. This led me to the question - what on earth are we doing?

OK so this story of Spurs being interested in our flying winger Ashley Young has been circulating for a few days now. Up until this point it was difficult to differentiate between what was lazy journalism and what was worrying truth. It's not exactly a secret that we need a new central midfielder; it's not a secret that we were interested in Bentley this time last year and it should come as no surprise that Harry Redknapp is a strong admirer of the PFA Young Player of the Season. So it's not a huge stretch of a journalist's imagination to write about a swap deal.

Here is where I start to worry, as I do before every transfer window. Firstly, last week Martin O'Neill came out and flatly said "we are not going to sell John Carew" or words to that effect. What is concerning me is that so far not a word has come out of VP regarding the consistent rumours surrounding Spurs' interest in Young. He is undoubtedly our best player now we have lost Laursen & Barry, so surely Martin must be aware that having lost those two, we as fans are biting our nails with incredible anxiety at the thought of losing another of our prize assets. If I was in Martin's shoes I would want to reassure the fans that he is staying and because he hasn't, we are left to wonder what is really going on.

Let us suppose that Martin is going down the line of '2 good players are better than 1 great player'...just who are they? Well, in David Bentley we have a serial under-achiever. So much potential, but so far not much end product. I fancy O'Neill to get the best out of him and I also fancy him to convert him to a central midfielder - a more advanced, right-footed version of Barry. Not much pace, but a good eye for a pass and a decent shot on him. I personally would not mind having him on board.

Then we have Tom Huddlestone. Again, another player with decent potential but yet to fulfil it. Although he does have a couple more years on his side compared to Bentley. However, we have similar players in Sidwell and Reo-Coker. I would have Nigel over Huddlestone for he has a bit more pace and awareness. Take your pick between Bentley & Sidwell.

Now if we were to buy them both for straight cash alone, they are two decent midfielders who over time might represent value for money. However, never in a million years should we even consider swapping Ashley Young for either/both of them. I won't even mention Zokora because he is too far below the standard we require to even bear thinking about. Ashley Young is one of, if not THE finest young talent in English football - barring the obvious Rooney. Carefully nurtured he could mature to become a world class winger no right-back would want to come up against. He is lightening quick with great feet, a good eye for goal and when brimming with confidence he can pass anyone. Compare that kind of threat we have to what Huddlestone and Bentley would give us and you'll soon see that realistically, if we want to challenge for the Champions League, we need to keep hold of Young at all costs. Selling/swapping him to a team like Spurs would pretty much say to the rest of the league "we are happy to tread water, or even take a step back". What kind of statement would that be? I am not saying the Hudd and Bentley are particularly bad players, but I would rather spend £13m on them and risk that money, than lose a player who at times can win us more points than either of those two ever would.

Whilst I am on the subject of midfielders to replace Barry, I am still struggling to understand what Martin O'Neill is playing at. Last year we were very close to the Champions League bar the unfortunate loss of our most influential player and an alarming loss in confidence from Gabby - who, by the way, I feel will get better again this season. So, considering how close we were, what needs to be done? Adding depth is one matter to address, whilst replacing our skipper and vice-captain obviously take top priority. So, why are we sniffing around the out-of-favour fringe players of a team who finished below us last season? Why are we reportedly happy to pay £7m for a defender who got relegated? It would seem because they are English.

I do wonder if we have any scouts in Europe at all sometimes. Aside from Carew (and Salifou, but he doesn't really count having not played very much at all), how many players have we signed from outside the British Isles? Cuéllar came from Scotland, Petrov came from Scotland, Friedel came from just up the road and the rest have been English. (Please correct me if I am wrong there, but the point would still remain valid - not a great number at all!). Now I praise Martin for his harbouring of English talent - we are a flagship club for the Premier League. BUT, and this is a big but, like anything in life it is possible to overdo it and it is finding that balance that's crucial. So rather than replace Barry with two (currently) average players, why do we not show some ambition, some audacity. Real Madrid need to clear out the dead wood and they have some cracking players that I think we would have a decent chance of signing. Saviola for example, or my personal favourite, Rafael van der Vaart. We need a playmaker through the middle; someone who can carve that pass that no-one else sees. I just don't see anyone English outside of Gerrard/Lampard who can do that. Defour would be another good option as well as Shabanis at Rijeka in Croatia dubbed the "new Boban" (look at Shabanis' skills on YouTube - very Merson-like).

I am just a bit tired of each season signing players like Marlon Harewood - no disrespect but he's not top 4 material. We need to show players like Young, who could quite easily jump ship to have a better chance of playing CL football, that Villa is the place where he is going to get it. That VP does want to have the elite of Europe play on it's green pastures and we can only do that by showing the Youngs and Gabbys of VP that we mean business in this league and we do that by showing ambition in the transfer market. Words and statements are all well and good, but ultimately it is actions that clubs and managers are judged on and so far this summer the verdict is not good. Let's hope MO'N has another Ashley Young up his sleeve. I have full faith that he will deliver and I would have no-one else manage Villa, but that could all change by September 1st.

UTV

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There is nothing analytical here, you are just describing what you have read in a red top. You are just commenting on pure speculation.

The journalists have obviously got to you. If any of this comes true, then write an article about it expressing your concerns, but as a reader I think you have just wasted your time telling me something I already know.

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LatestConfirmedIn: I think it is fairly clear we are going to be signing Bentley. He is exactly the type of player O'Neill likes. Young, English, the kind he can mould into what he thinks Villa need.

My point in this article was mainly to do with the fact that there is nothing coming out of Villa Park. Sure, newspapers will write what they want be it true or not, but where's the statement from the club saying that Young is going nowhere?

There was the odd story about Carew leaving, and O'Neill came out pretty sharpish to say that he was going to be a Villa player next season. So far on the Young speculation, nothing. Speculation it may be, but sometimes that speculation does in fact come true. I was merely voicing my concern at that possibility. I am just saying it would be nice to be reassured, so that it can be put to bed that Ashley is staying with us. The longer the club stay quiet on these stories, the more weight they will appear to have - whether they are true or not is irrelevant until we know.

And if you know it all already, don't read it. Plenty of other good articles on here to occupy your time. Most articles on sites like VillaTalk are based on speculation because there has been no action, and what we as fans would do if we were in charge.

Richard: Totally agree with you on that. If we sign another Harewood or Heskey, it will be a grave disappointment I feel. Here is the opportunity and potential to really excite the fans. I just hope we don't replace our two best players with ones who MIGHT be good in a couple of years. To progress, we need that quality now. Potential can be left to other, less urgent areas of the team. Time will tell.

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Like I havepreviously said the next signing this club makes will be , IMO, the most important signing that we have made in the last 10 years or more

I can see the sentiment but I think it is the collective signings made by Day 1 NOT the end of August that will mean more. The next one itself will not be THE one.

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I agree with Al but IF Martin was to make a big statement with his very next signing I think it would send out a great message to the fans and it would show subsequent signings that 'look, here's the type of player we're bringing in' and it might pave the way to better signings throughout the summer.

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I agree with Al but IF Martin was to make a big statement with his very next signing I think it would send out a great message to the fans and it would show subsequent signings that 'look, here's the type of player we're bringing in' and it might pave the way to better signings throughout the summer.
Not just the fans really but , and more importantly, the players who may want to join and the players already here
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the players who may want to join

it would show subsequent signings that 'look, here's the type of player we're bringing in' and it might pave the way to better signings throughout the summer.

:suspect:;) ;)

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