I’m still confused. If you’d told me a few years ago that we would be relegated and former England International John Terry would be holding up a Villa shirt with Steve Bruce as manager and fresh owners that tweet digs and jibes at rivals, then I would have booked your place at a rehab centre and told you to lay off the Smarties.
There has been a see-saw of opinions, animosity and angst versus shock and thankfulness. However you see it and whatever you think, we’ve brought in a winning leader of men who has arguably been one of the best defenders of recent times in both the Premier League and for England.
The photos were taken, the tweets were posted and the interviews were conducted and I must say I was impressed with how ‘JT’ spoke about the move and his ambitions rather than himself and Chelsea.
I then thought the madness was over and it still could be the case. However, I then saw a flurry of tweets about Joe Hart. Now personally, I can’t see there being any legs in this. In recent times, many people will point out the mistakes he has made such as the Bale free kick in the European Championships for England and the fact he was sent off to Torino for a season where reports are that he was largely disappointing. Yet the odds have shortened further this morning on the England stopper and face of Head and Shoulders (other shampoos are available) following his former England compatriot to Villa Park.
Yet the odds have shortened further this morning on the England stopper and the face of Head and Shoulders (other shampoos are available) following his former England compatriot to Villa Park.
If there is any substance to this story, then it would be an incredible statement. Although there have been mistakes. When was the last time we had a keeper of his stature that was largely mistaken free? Friedel? Or do we have to go back further?
Let’s just think about the fact that we are in the Championship for a moment. If Joe Hart was offered to all of the Premier League clubs, I think it’s fair to say there would be a fair few interested if the price was right. We can’t be too selective and picky in who we sign these days but at least Xia has backed up the demands of fans as well as his managers in signing the likes of Jedinak, Chester, Hourihane etc. Granted, not every single fan wanted them.
Would Hart be a good fit for Villa? In my view, of course, he would and I don’t mean through any links to his shampoo (I like many have been ‘scratching my head’ since the last few days of the O’Neill regime, but it’s the goalkeeper that I’m interested in!)
Hart brings a successful background, similar to Terry and has a commanding voice and presence that would only add to our backline. A drop to Championship could also build the confidence and consistency that he seems to have lacked since the arrival of Pep Guardiola at Manchester City.
Bruce has been lauded by many as a great manager at supporting and nurturing those that need the confidence and belief and it could be a very fruitful match.
I think it’s obvious that other teams would be quite taken back should a successful approach take place. Naming a starting lineup in the second tier that lists Hart and Terry would be some going.
Looking at the situation from the point of view of Manchester City, it could be good for them too. It appears Pep has burnt all bridges with Hart, yet if they sold him to a rival team and he had a great season in the Premier League: a) it could affect them should a big team come in for him and do well themselves and b) as City still haven’t got a strong, consistent replacement themselves, could it be a risky move reputation wise as Guardiola will be expected to win trophies.
If City wishes to avoid selling him to rival teams, would they take a cut-price offer from a team that will not affect them in Villa? Possibly incentivised like the Terry deal, where promotion would see a further addition to the bank balance following the ‘down payment’? If they can’t secure the funds they want for him, will they finally cave into a loan with an option to buy?
It is safe to say the choice is as much Hart’s as it is City’s. He is at a crossroads right now and will want to establish himself in a winning, consistent team.
Please don’t think I’m saying it’s a done deal as I’m not another budding ‘ITK’ but why can’t we dream? Worst case scenario, I’ll put my own Smarties away for another night until Buffon or Casillas get linked!