There are a few things that seem to have slotted together in the news over the past few days, the direction we are heading in, contracts for older players and even a return to news of sister clubs.
We all know the Alan Hutton story now – A Glimmer Of Hope For Model Professional Alan Hutton?.
In short he spoke to Steve Bruce about a new extension and Bruce admitted that his hands were tied on any new deals until we knew where we’d be playing in 2018/19 and the implication was promotion to the Premier League opened up doors for some players to remain with us, but whilst it remains a possibility we are set for another year in the Championship, 2018/19 would have to see significant changes to our playing line up to ensure we didn’t fall foul of Financial Fair Play at this level and that too is a regular topic in the news and the reason we were only looking at loans in January.
The logical guess from that is Premier League sees stability in the group with key additions to enable us to better compete and survive as we take a more slow rebuild of the club under Dr Tony Xia, whereas further Championship life having spent as we have, would see us take another approach and keep key experience but with the aim of supplementing our youth and moving our focus towards growing a young group that will grow together and achieve our aims that way with the pennies and pounds more being watched.
That wouldn’t really be a surprise as the best way to get back on track with Championship FFP is trim down significantly with both sales and letting contracts expire, so it makes perfect sense nobody talks about deals until the future is known.
Chief Executive Keith Wyness has said should promotion not be attained there are plans and contingencies in place, but we’ve long known our financial health – especially in the Championship – wasn’t that great, so seeing a more drastic approach to draw the line and dare I say ‘tread water’ for 12 months would actually make a lot of sense.
our CEO slates the fair play rules, I concur… Thoughts!?https://t.co/KJq1oqWfso
Vital Villa (@VitalVilla) January 30, 2018
A potential question would be who gets sacrificed and who gets retained – even if only for 12 months until finances were better from FFP’s perspective.
Scott Hogan has the age advantage on Jonathan Kodjia and I couldn’t imagine us keeping both? What would it mean for a potential second year for John Terry? I’d imagine it might mean the end of Sam Johnstone, but equally I don’t see Pierluigi Gollini heading back so maybe more of a chance for Jed Steer when fit.
With Jack Grealish really impressing of late and many thinking any Ross McCormack involvement would be in that ‘hole position’ I think I know who most would pick.
Midfield is similar with a mix of old and young, each impressing differently and even looking back at the centre of defence, if Terry remained for 12 months is that the ideal time to really blood Easah Suliman learning alongside him whilst we sacrifice James Chester?
We’ll each have our own answers to that but undoubtedly promotion would bring an end to these conundrums and even then I’d imagine we’d still see some kind of clear out to make way for new signings, but it certainly wouldn’t be as dramatic or drastic.
If we remain in the Championship though, ultimately it’s time for a proper rebuild and no more quick fixes for me, as it was attempted quick fixes to tread water that got us into this mess to begin with.
But that brings me to the re-emergence of sister club speculation.
Yesterday evening the Birmingham Mail carried speculation from Danish news outlet BT and unlike me, they know how to get translations.
In short, they reported Villa were one of several interested parties from England looking into a takeover of Lyngby Boldklub who are undergoing financial difficulties themselves.
Brighton were also linked but are said to be no longer interested.
Their Chairman Torben Jensen has confirmed that an offer from an English club had been tabled with law firm Plesner describing it as ‘very exciting and serious’ but he wouldn’t comment on our potential interest directly – you wouldn’t expect him to really at this stage.
They are third bottom this year in the Danish Superliga, but last season they finished third in the table.
Fans will remember – Wyness Talks Sister Clubs & The Mothership – from back in September 2016 where he talked opened about Xia’s desire to have a network of clubs around the globe that dealt with each other, learned from each others and importantly, shared youngsters for experience.
The caveat was the ‘mothership’ had to be right first before we embarked on that and followed in Manchester City’s footsteps.
Now that tweaked my interest, if we get back to the Premier League the ‘mothership’ will be far better placed to expand with fewer FFP restrictions in the top flight. However, if we are set for another season in the Championship and have to make significant changes ourselves, wouldn’t that be a good time to branch out also, gain more favourable access to talent whilst – given Bruce’s words about the failing loan market for youngsters – enabling us to give good game time to youngsters who weren’t ready for the first team just yet and even abroad would experience a more competitive set up than the Under 23s.
With plans being in place to cope with another season in the second tier, is the latest speculation simply one part of that, but a part that doesn’t become irrelevant, just a less rushed approach to take if promotion is achieved.
I’m probably reading too much into things, but I quite like that idea (even if I expect to be wildly off base).
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