News: Villa Takeover DEAD, Amavi DEAL £9m, Vlaar to LAZIO, Brad BACKED. #avfc

Your one stop shop for the latest news, views and rumour on all things Aston Villa;

Brad Guzan, who has been impressing on International duty of late, is looking increasingly likely to be our number one next season.  In classic Villa style, we have spent the summer indiscreetly on the prowl for a replacement.  Our attempts, ultimately in vain to sign Stoke’s Begovic, have resulted in Sherwood making clear his feelings on Guzan.

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In short, it appears that if a suitable alternative could have been sourced, Brad would have been replaced…which may make for an awkward reunion.

The jury is very much out on the USA international.  After a shaky start to his Villa career, a loan period away from the club & ultimately the non-renewal of his deal it looked a natural parting.  However, Guzan re-signed and displayed the type of form which established him amongst the top flights best ‘keepers.

However, this was not without sometimes bizarre lapses of judgement & a slow decline of form which eventually led to his being dropped for Shay Given in the closing stages of last season.  This came most memorably after an absolute howler at Man City, which was almost, almost of Enklemann proportions.

We now find ourselves in a difficult position, with the likely number 1 ‘keeper knowing he had been marked for replacement.  This U-turn is in part prompted by Villa permitting Shay Given to depart, lessening the wage bill significantly & bringing in Mark Bunn as cover alongside rookie Jed Steer.

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Takeover…Over?  Whilst we should always take Sherwood’s quotes with a pinch of salt & perhaps not be overly reliant upon them, comments in relation to any takeover appear to hold true;

“I think it’s dead now, to be honest,” Sherwood said on Sky Sports.

“It was fairly live, but I think the people who were talking are now not there.

"The chairman is picking it up and running with it now. I’m not sure if anyone is too close now. Until it’s done it’s never there.”

What is telling is that there have been movements both in and out of Villa Park that suggest that Lerner has instructed a more “business as usual” approach that has been so lacking in recent seasons.  Whilst Tom Fox is no doubt influential in this respect, ultimately the owner has the final say.

Although the focus has remained on ensuring that the wage bill is balanced, Villa have taken advantage of moving along high earners (Bent, Given etc) as well as other deadwood around the squad to free up wages.  These additional resources make matters simpler, that’s for sure.

A departure from the norm appears to be that significant funds have been made available to strengthen the squad.  Significant in Aston Villa terms when compared to recent seasons at least.  Although this is tempered against restraint with wages, itself not a bad thing, it reinforces that the owner has sanctioned expenditure to protect his investment.

Yes, this can be viewed in the context of years of under-investment following the fall-out from the Martin O’Neill wastefulness, but, it is at least a sign that attempts are being made the improve what has become one of the most threadbare squads in the division.

Whether a takeover will occur this summer or in the near future, I feel somewhat reassured that Lerner is recognising the need to improve the playing staff, whilst also sticking true to his word in not selling for the sake of cutting his losses.

This is fairly well illustrated by the work undertaken to secure the services of Jordan Amavi.  A £9m million pound fee has been agreed with Nice for the highly rated fullback, who is expected to progress from the French U21 side to the senior set up imminently.  Whilst Amavi has the offer of other sides within Ligue 1 in France, it’s expected that the package on the table from Villa and the lure of Premier League football will be the deal-breaker.

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In other news, reports from Italy have suggested former club captain Ron Vlaar is to sign a deal with Serie A giants Lazio.  Vlaar, now a free agent, has been linked with Southampton, Man Utd & Besiktas.  

Whilst ‘The Villa Underground’ wishes Ron all of the best, it’s not without an element of regret that his Villa career never reached the heights his World Cup talent illustrated.  Be it frequent injuries, a lack of fitness or that one mistake a game Vlaar appeared to have in him; he was a likeable player who hasn’t disrespected himself or the club.