You may have noticed that no players have yet signed for Aston Villa during this transfer window. If you look at the bottom of the Premier League table, you will see Aston Villa Football Club’s name. We need players more than any other club yet we haven’t signed any. There are two key reasons why this is the case.
The first is the board. We all know that the funds aren’t there. Aston Villa Football Club cannot afford, or the board members aren’t willing to pay for, high quality players. Even Tim Sherwood’s summer spending spree (if you can really call it that) was funded entirely by the sales of our two best players from last season. Whilst splashing the cash at this point may be foolish, the complete lack of spending suggests to fans that the owner and his key men have given up the ghost and accepted relegation.
The other reason is the players. Which quality footballer is going to join Aston Villa on a permanent deal now? There is nothing appealing about joining a club that is sinking. Joining a team set to be relegated just isn’t enticing, even if there is a relegation clause in a contract.
Our only hope is loan players. The loan signing of Mathieu Debuchy from Arsenal is still very much on the cards, although I am not convinced that another right back should really be a priority. Scoring goals is clearly what we need to focus on. We have many defenders and it’s the front line that Garde needs to sort out. Instead, it seems the manager is trying desperately to sign a right back who is clearly not going to find the net on a weekly basis and who will leave us in the summer.
It is to be expected that a club bound for relegation and cutting costs is going to struggle to lure players in. However, one thing we can see is that being a supposedly big club with a magnificent history is not enough any more. It is too easy to overlook our history, which has been overshadowed by (at times) appalling modern day performances. Due to the terrible results that have left us rock bottom of the Premier League, very few people beyond our fan base remember that just a few years ago we were pushing up the table and playing European football. Then we had hopes and dreams.
In January 2011, when we found ourselves in the bottom four, money was spent on a quality striker with a price tag to match. On joining us, Bent spoke of the club being in a “false position” and the club’s history was enough to convince him to join us, although I suspect the wage packet helped. Boss Gerard Houllier believed that Bent could be “a tremendous asset for the months and the years ahead.” Things didn’t quite go to plan where Bent was concerned but his goals ensured the Villans retained a place in the Premier League beyond 2011. If we tried now to sign someone who, like Bent in 2011, can boast of one of the best strike rates in the Premier League in recent seasons, we’d fail – but that’s supposing we had an owner who cared enough to fight for survival.