Gabby Agbonlahor has recently claimed that he offered to play for ‘free’ for Aston Villa this season given the issues we had with long-term injuries up front.
Our 32-year-old record Premier League goalscorer told Sky Sports this week that despite seeing his contract end over the summer, he was more than willing to come back and be an extra option for manager Steve Bruce on basically non-contract terms.
With both Scott Hogan and Keinan Davis having been out for large parts of pre-season and the 2018/19 campaign so far, Hogan has only recently returned to training and is now back in contention for selection once again, Agbonlahor explained.
“I was aware a couple of strikers had what seemed to be long-term injuries and everyone knew the club had financial difficulties, so I asked my agent to speak with Steve Bruce and make the offer I would play for free. There were no strings attached, I didn’t want paying, no appearance money, nothing, it was a genuine offer to help the club I love.”
Agbonlahor went on to say that Bruce had been ‘good to him’ on his arrival after he had been in a ‘bad place’ previously and whilst his offer was appreciated, nothing came of it and of course, he certainly wasn’t aware of how bad the financial side of life was at the club that ultimately led to our sale to Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens.
There are those fans who would’ve welcomed him back given his history with the club and equally, there are those fans owing to that history who were glad to see the back of him finally. I also appreciated it’s very easy to respond along the lines of he should play for free given how long he wasn’t paying but still being paid – that response is an easy go-to for many I suspect.
I just fail to see, short of also discussing the fact that he is a free agent and not ready to retire just yet and making that more publicly known again, what the interview serves him as those in the game will be well aware he’s still available and he admits himself he has had offers, so I am prepared to take this more on face value and if the ‘no strings’ is 100% spot on and it was a genuine offer to be a body – even if just on the training pitch as something different – then he does rise a little bit more in my own estimations again.
There’s no denying it ended badly and Gabby will have his own regrets, as he also acknowledges, but I’d like to think most would take him at his word here.