It doesn’t seem long ago that we were splashing the cash in the summer transfer window yet we are now fast approaching the January transfer window, with Dr Tony Xia once again expected to loosen the purse strings.
Steve Bruce has managed eight games since being appointed after Roberto Di Matteo was sacked and has managed to pick up fifteen points from a possible twenty-four.
With only one defeat to his name, it hasn’t been a bad start at all for Bruce but, with Aston Villa fifteenth in the Championship, there is room for huge improvement. The fans’ hope is that Bruce can use the January window to find the final pieces to the claret and blue jigsaw puzzle.
Which areas will Steve Bruce be looking to improve come New Year’s Day? Every fan has his or her own ideas, although it seems inevitable that some reinforcements will be sought with the Villans still lacking strength and numbers in some areas.
The rumours have been rife since Bruce took over that he would be looking for another goalkeeper. Jed Steer has been ruled out for the remainder of the season through injury and Mark Bunn missed the last game through injury, leaving Pierluigi Gollini as the only recognised first-team goalkeeper.
It would be incredibly harsh on Pierluigi Gollini to consider replacing him as number one but there is certainly no harm in getting another goalkeeper in to provide competition for our young Italian shot-stopper.
I can’t see Steve Bruce looking to bring in any defensive reinforcements. At centre-half, we are a little lacking in depth and could well see someone like his son, Alex Bruce, coming in from Hull City.
Since coming in for the injured Ritchie De Laet, Alan Hutton has looked much more at home in the Championship than he did in the Premier League. Jordan Amavi is growing with regular football and looks set to become one of the best left-backs in the Championship.
Perhaps one of the most problematic areas for the Villans this season has been the centre of the park, with Gary Gardner, Mile Jedinak, Ashley Westwood and Aaron Tshibola the only options.
With the current system of a three-man midfield base, many are wondering whether Westwood will be up to the job for the remainder of the season.
If we were to lose someone to injury, the midfield options would be even more limited. We could do with a box-to-box midfielder who is capable of laying on chances as well as tracking back. They’re hard to find in a January window but I firmly believe the midfield is currently our main weak area and that it needs to be strengthened in January.
The attack is one of the best in the league, they say, but the forwards need to start proving it. Albert Adomah and Jonathan Kodjia have both been superb since coming in but Ross McCormack has struggled to hit top gear.
We will be losing Kodjia and Ayew in the new year to the Africa Cup of Nations and we have been linked with Middlebrough’s Jordan Rhodes.
I believe it could be worthwhile getting a striker in on loan this January.
The squad has come a long way but the work is not done yet. I believe Bruce, supported by Xia, needs to solve the problematic issues in January so we can push on. Steve Bruce will know by now what is needed to improve this squad and we can but hope that he will be able to act quickly and astutely to plug some of the gaps that are still visible in the Aston Villa side.