Date: 8th August 2007 at 12:12pm
Written by:

Villa boss Martin O’Neill has confused me. Ok, it isn’t difficult to confuse me I admit but he has repeatedly said that there is no cap on spending and that Randy Lerner will back him in the transfer market. Ok, that bit I am clear on and know for myself anyway, the club have money and are willing to spend. Fine, all well and good.

Next up he says we have a ‘nucleus of a good side’. Ok, I’m clear on that, I agree we have some good players and some bright young prospects and have brought in one very good addition in Nigel Reo-Coker. The other one I’ll reserve judgement!! So far, so good.

Next up he says he is still looking to strengthen, fine, we’ve heard it all summer but ok, he is wanting who he wants and hopefully we’ll get them before the window closes at the very least.

All clear so far.

Now this bit confuses the hell out of me.

‘Ideally I would like to go back to the size of squad that we had at the end of last season. We’ve lost six or seven players and only improved it by two so far.’

Notice the problem? We’ve let players leave a squad that Martin O’Neill (and David O’Leary before him) rightly said was too small. Now if it was too small last season, why would it not be too small this season if we match the numbers in the squad?

I understand we’ll have hopefully improved the quality of the squad although Marlon Harewood – no disrespect – isn’t the best example of that. Surely you would buy in quality before off-loading the players you don’t want though? We all know injuries dig deep in football and then we have the same situation we had last season with not enough cover. Both Stuart Taylor and Thomas Sorensen got injured last season meaning we had to loan a keeper, before the season has already started we Sorensen is again injured so not a great start there? Then we have no recognised right back, let alone back up?

Confused? I am. I know to question amongst some is seen as sacrilege and don’t get me wrong, the last thing I want is a manager merry-go-round, but you do have to laugh, all the years we’ve had managers saying there is no money and they need players, now we have money and a manager unwilling or unable to act decisively in the transfer market.

Never an easy thing being a Villa fan is it? Looks like it isn’t that easy being the Villa boss either. I noticed an article title on Villa Talk that said Aston Villa – UnPrepared. Hmmm.

Fasten your seat belts, it could be a bumpy ride.


45 Replies to “Claret & Blue & Totally Confused”

  • I do not see any problem in having the same squad size as at the end of the last season if there will be no “dead-wood” like Djemba Twins or Hendrie or someone “crappy” else counted in this squad size…
    This size of squad with all-quality members would and should be enough to achieve Euro-place. So there will be 5 more signings I hope…but quality signings of course.

  • The 7% in the poll thinking we’re going to challenge top 4 with this squad need their heads examined….I do wonder about some of our fans at times…..

  • We shouldn’t really be hoping this stage of the season though Majkee, they should be in the shirts and ready to be on the pitch! Other managers have managed it.

  • Dont panic eveyone MON has it in hand, if he doesnt get the players in by the end of August he will get them in Jan and if he doesn’t get them in Jan he will get them next summer and so on and so forth…. 🙁

  • I am getting fed up with the critisising of MON and his transfer policy, yes he may have lost out on a couple of signings and yes he may well have learnt to replace players before they are sold. He is not stupid but in fact much more astute that most of us on this site give him credit for. Give him the time and get off his back – yes everyone makes mistakes and learn from them. Signings will be here soon, all we need to concentrate on is getting behind the team on Saturday and giving us that extra man (RB). Pleanty of time but it will come good believe me.

  • jeez, i can’t wait till the bloody transfer window is shut so we know whether we are in the **** or not!

  • As was pointed out somewhere – I manager isn’t going to criticise his chairman. I don’t beleive there is money for players. You say villa managers have harped on about the lack of cash – true – but for a long time a lot of managers insisted Ellis was backing them in the transfer market – until a succession of managers failed to land players. it became obvious then despite managerial denials – there was no cash – whatever MON says I don’t beleive there is money.

  • Mellberg can fill in at RB on Saturday – he is good in that position.
    Taylor,Mellberg,Laursen,Cahill,Bouma,Barry,NRC,Petrov,Young,Gabbi,Carew – No problems at all with that team.

  • I have to admit that I am now worried. I think we do have a fantastic board and the best manager we could wish for, however, I do feel let down in this transfer window. The board have worked extremely hard to gain the support and trust of the supports back, but they are risking losing this and burning their bridges if they do not buy any quality signings to help our squad, and soon. MON is a fantastic manager, however I do feel he has boobed in this window. It isn’t as if he has 4 weeks like the Jan transfer window to get players in. Negotiations could have started in May and to hear comments now in regards to negotations continuing I cannot see us adding as much as our squad needs it.

  • TBH qKing, I would love to argue and say there is money but we have seen no proof this this summer.

  • If Craig Gordon chose Sunderland over Villa, fine. It’s a nice, comfortable little Scottish Village between Edinborough and Middlesburgh). If it was because we were haggling over a price, as has been rumoured, then we have to ask questions. Players are going to be worth what other clubs are prepared to pay for them, and we have to look to accept that (as we are told about the signing of Young Ashley). £9m is a huge amount for a keeper, and possibly next year, when all these clubs are spent, the ‘next Craig Gordon’ might only have a market value of £6m). The risk is, if the theory is to buy when all the other clubs have spent up, that you get a Fulham or Blackburn that get bought out by a Pol Pot with bulging pockets next season who keep prices high.

    However right now, which is when we need players, a young, rising current club captain (like Reo-Coker or our other rumoured target, Curtis Davies) who could excel and fill a place in the team for years to come? What disappoints and confuses me is that he fits EXACTLY the type of player we are looking for, and a crucial position. In this age of honesty at the club, it would be nice to know why he didn’t even get to Villa Park for talks.

  • In defence of the board they spent money on Petrov £8.5m, Young £8m up front, Maloney £1m before this window. This would equate to £17.5m. This was before any money came in. This window there has been a net spend of £4.2m. Reo-Coker £8.5m and Harewood £3.7m offset against outgoings of Davis £4m, McCann £1m, Hughes £1m and Ridgewell £2m.

  • Nice comment splatt…at first we couldnt wait for the window to open, now we want the bloody thing to shut again! Its been one hell of a rollercoaster this summer (even if it was crap one!)

  • I’ve seen nothing to say Gordon has joined Sunderland, nothing on their official site, nothing but rumours. He drove down to the midlands last night. He will need to spend a bit longer than a few hours to make a decision. The northern press have it in for Villa, so until he is paraded in a SAFC shirt then I’ll ignore it. As for the rest, lets wait and see. Its getting very late, but defenders don’t need much time to settle, we are good going forward now, lots of pace and confidence.

  • I ‘ve just raised this on the transfer thread, I believe this has a lot to do with the sell on fees of the players and the clauses. If you are paying near 10m for a player you want some kind of guarantee of control and return on investment IF (and that’s a big IF in Gordon’s case) the price RISES. You only have to look at what a mess we’ve made of this in the past (Ugo, Crouch and Alpay spring to mind). Teams like West Brom, Hearts quite rightly want the customers to pay top dollar AND have money is the price goes up – they win both ways.

  • Although im disappointed with the lack of transfer activity up until now, its very easy to look over your shoulder at other teams transfer dealings, but generally speaking (and excluding ludricous transfers involving the top 4 teams) i havent seen too many players move clubs this summer that ive thought ‘thats a player we desperately needed’. Players like Alan Smith would be nice, sure, but he cant play centre back, and he cant play right back. And taking Man City as another example i bet Sven hasnt even seen half the players play that have come into Man City. Villa steadily improved last season, and i’ll bet we do the same again this season.

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