It’s impossible as a Villa fan not to reminisce about Gary Cahill at the mere mention of his name.
He is most fondly remembered for an outrageous bicycle kick at The Holte End to write his name into the history books of the second city derby.
As remarkable as that goal, so was Martin O’Neill’s incomprehensible decision to offload Cahill to Bolton. Indeed, it serves only to remind us of O’Neill’s failure to recognise top quality players, with Zat Knight being the bizarre replacement he opted for.
Cahill, instead, went on to win every major domestic and European club honour in his career with Chelsea. Villa, meanwhile, have a [mostly] car crash list of central defenders since that we won’t go into.
Cahill’s Chelsea career is reported to be at a close, with the London side looking to offload the former England international on loan, 6 months ahead of his contract expiring.
32 year old Gary Cahill. A free agent?!
What a tantalising prospect.
The reality is that Villa are [as things stand] far, far down the list of suitors for Cahill. Arguably he has a season or two either in the Premier League or a comparable top European league remaining in his engine at least.
However, stranger things have happened in football. And strange things do tend to happen at Aston Villa of late.
Indeed, few would have predicted John Terry ever joining the football club. Even fewer would have expected Terry to make such an impression and on-going impact upon Aston Villa.
Tammy Abraham was going nowhere on deadline day. He was sitting tight, quoted as wanting to nail down a starting place at Stamford Bridge. Until he ended up at Villa Park on a season long loan.
The final advantage that Villa may hold, as was likely the case given the speed and turnaround on the Abraham signing, is Christian Purslow. Purslow spent three years in the upper echelons of Chelsea’s management hierarchy.
There’s not just the added bonus that Cahill has familiarity with the Aston Villa football club either.
We desperately need a centre half. With just Axel Tuanzebe (a Manchester United loanee) and James Chester (carrying a knee injury), Villa’s pursuit of a player of Cahill’s quality is audacious but arguably essential.
The question ultimately is would Cahill return to a club that unceremoniously cast him off?
What is the potential influence and leverage of Terry and Purslow upon the player?
Does any financial risk taken in luring Cahill, outweigh that of the risks posed by what would happen to our promotion aspirations if our current centre-halfs get injured/suspended/recalled?
Stranger things have happened, maybe they’ll happen again.