With the rumour mill in full swing regarding a possible takeover of Aston Villa Football Club, many fans grew cautiously optimistic about the future, particularly when newspapers such as ‘The Telegraph’ and ‘The Guardian’ picked up on the rumours.
More fuel was added to the fire when our chairman, Randy Lerner, who rarely comments publicly on matters regarding Aston Villa, released a statement in which did not categorically deny the takeover rumours. Instead, he claimed he would address the future at the end of the season. He backed Paul Lambert and actually confirmed that he was the one who had set the strict parameters that Lambert is trying his best to work within. He also said that it was a shame that players such as Libor Kozak, Christian Benteke, Jores Okore and Charles N’Zogbia all suffered long term injuries, which limited what Lambert has been able to achieve.
Yesterday brought more rumours, which led to fans speculating about the manager’s job at Aston Villa if a takeover occurs. What may happen is that new owners would decide to keep the current manager in place for a limited time to see if he can step up to the plate. They may then sack him within the first six months, bringing in their own man.
If the takeover does indeed happen at the end of the season, assuming we are not relegated, will Paul Lambert be given time and funds to build another team? In my opinion, it is a real possibility – and here’s why.
It has been reported that Lerner is a fan of Lambert’s work and that he has a genuinely strong bond with the Scot. His statement confirmed that. If negotiations are taking place, I think Lerner may already have asked potential new owners to stick with Lambert, just to prove that with money he can turn things around. I would not be opposed to this: I know the football has been shocking at times but then I remember that Lambert has had to create a new squad – to compete in the Premier League – with ‘only’ £40 million.
When Lambert has had money to spend, he has bought some duds – but they are inexpensive duds. When you’re shopping for bargains, you’re bound to find that some products may not work, which it seems has been the case with players like Tonev, Bowery and Sylla as they have all struggled to adapt.
At the same time, Lambert has made some savvy purchases, acquiring a number of decent players relatively cheaply. Leandro Bacuna has been a great signing, as has Ashley Westwood – and both have been important members of the starting XI this season. I’m sure Jores Okore will prove to be a good signing as well but unfortunately he suffered a long term injury so the jury’s still out. We all know about Benteke but many overlook the fact that Ron Vlaar was a pivotal signing also. There is certainly evidence that Paul Lambert has an eye for talent.
People should also remember that we were linked with quality players as well, players we at least enquired about. The one I regret us not being able to sign was Phillipe Coutinho, who has been a revelation at Liverpool. We also reportedly made an enquiry for Wilfried Bony before we signed Benteke and who can forget the Belhanda saga? Hopefully, if new owners do arrive at Villa Park and do take a chance on Lambert, he’ll be able to bring in players like those named above, who can win games with moments of individual brilliance.
If Lambert is to be told that his services are no longer required, I sincerely hope that we get a manager who knows how to motivate his players and who can make shrewd purchases. I want to see a manager who is not afraid to implement his plan B and change things as soon as he wants to.
At present, this is all hypothetical and we need to see what happens in the next chapter of Aston Villa’s history but what do you think? Does Lambert deserve to keep his job and be given a big transfer kitty if the rumoured takeover goes ahead or is it time for a complete change? Share your views by commenting below.