In what is surely to be a transitional season, it’s good to see that Roberto Di Matteo is already beginning to bring in new recruits. Whilst he limited close up inspection of the existing squad may yet yield enforced recalls, it’s clear that the Italian had replacements in mind before his arrival at B6.
Indeed, you would be hard pressed to find many football fans who couldn’t identify Villa’s shortcomings last season and set about a plan upon which to improve us.
There are tentative early links to Junior Hoilett who has refused a new contract at QPR and is currently a free agent. The Canadian is largely recalled for his positive early career form at Blackburn, notably for terrorising defences with mazy, pacey dribbles.
Similarly to his current situation, he ran down his deal with Rovers whilst courting interest from top European clubs including Bayern Munich in 2012. Despite the interest from the continent and Spurs, closer to home, he opted for a £45k per week move to QPR on a four year deal.
You may recall that QPR were on a forlorn hapless splurge at the time.
Since then Hoilett’s career has stagnated badly due to indifferent form, injury troubles and suffering also for QPR’s downturn in fortunes generally.
Most concerning is perhaps the reaction on social media to the news from QPR fans. There was little in the Twittersphere to suggest he would be an asset greatly missed, with some citing a lack of end product as a defining trait.
It remain’s to be seen whether there is firm interest from Villa Park in the 26 year old, but if there is, we will face competition from both Swansea & Galatasaray.
Idrissa “Gana” Gueye is reported to be nearing a £7.1 million pound transfer to Ligue 1 side Marseille.
Gana showed initial promise in the close season of 2015, but what limited early season form he demonstrated quickly ebbed away.
Whilst the Senegalese man ran around a lot, he left a lot to be desired in terms of consistency. For every great interception there was a stray pass. For all of the grass covered what benefit did it provide the team?
Villa were awfully weak in central midfield last season. And while this is no one single players fault, on the 38 times we observed Gueye, there was little to suggest a irreplaceable top flight Premier League footballer lurked within him.
Another name repeatedly linked with the exit is the incredibly disappointing Scott Sinclair. After exciting displays as a Swansea player, an inevitable career stall was induced by a lack of game-time at Manchester City.
We were treated to glimpses of his skill and finishing before he gained a contract, but since then the flaws outweigh the benefits. I’m still unsure exactly what his best position is. We have seen momentary predatory strikes, tricky wing play, but most of all, often wondered if he’s been on the pitch.
A transfer to Celtic, on the right terms, seems the logical end of the line.
And a warm welcome to 21 year old midfielder Aaron Tshibola, arriving on 4 year deal from Reading. Tshibola, can only inject something different and hopefully, improve us.
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