As Aston Villa fans will be aware, young French defender Harold Moukoudi turned down a move to us this transfer window.
The 20-year-old Le Harve player took the time to travel to Birmingham before making his mind up on the deal and he ultimately turned us down. Speaking to France Bleu this week, the player explained that for him the move had come too early in his career and that was ultimately the reason for the rejection.
Pointing out that at this moment in time he wants to ‘build a career’ and establish his name further in the French second tier, we weren’t the only club to be sniffing around him and also failed in their efforts.
The bit that took my attention from the interview was although he described Bodymoor Heath as being ‘huge’ and an ‘impressive infrastructure’ there was something else that stood out to him and saw him reject the loan to £10million buy deal.
“I had the feeling that their football and ours were not the same. I went there to hear what the coach had to say to me. To see if it was interesting to leave. I took the time to think and I chose to stay in France.”
He added that in his ‘family’ they have ‘certain values’ and one of those for him wasn’t money at this stage, acknowledging that the offers he received during the window were ‘great’ but he wanted another year of Ligue 2 football even though it was difficult to turn down us and others.
The above is completely open to interpretation for me. From the moment Moukoudi turned us down and we then saw Tommy Elphick depart, I assumed we hadn’t done our homework and weren’t aware of his reticence to make such a high profile move so early in his career.
I still don’t think I’m wrong on that score although his words don’t necessarily back that up. It just feels like we put our eggs in his basket and the latter move for Aberdeen’s Scott McKenna because we’d bound ourselves and in our Financial Fair Play state, that’s not the position you want to be in.
The main point though is what didn’t we appear to agree on.
Was it tactics, style of play, was it baseline game time – I tend to think so myself and his worry his work over the last 12 months would be undone if he didn’t hit the ground running. But it’s not going to stop people speculating and using it to bolster their opinions of the manager and other things.
Some might well say he’d done his homework, seen the often discussed style of play, the often discussed reliance on youth as opposed to ‘been there, got the t-shirt’ types of players and whatever Bruce said couldn’t get him over that hurdle. Others will like his honesty about being the wrong time, a number have criticised him already for having no ambition.
Doesn’t matter what way you read it, doesn’t matter if you have a standpoint – the interview in basic says ‘I wasn’t sold on the idea’ and whatever the main underlying reason, don’t we like to think Aston Villa doesn’t need to be ‘sold’ to players.
That’s probably more worrying.