I am a hardened Villa fan but also shrewdly realistic. It’s clear to see that Aston Villa are missing something at present. It may simply be experience, it may be an increase in quality, it may just be luck, but I genuinely believe that Villa are only a scattering of well placed players away from changing the clubs fortunes.
Even if Lerner does get behind Lambert financially in the next transfer window it is unlikely to be to excess. But that is not required; with astute business a lot can be achieved without significantly damaging the clubs pockets. Steering clear of players that Villa have already been linked with, the likes of Yedder, Holtby, Sturridge, Austin, Commons etc, I aim to think a little outside the box, at players that could have a big impact at Villa Park, whilst also remaining somewhat pragmatic.
Therefore if I was Paul Lambert my January business would be as follows:
Simon Kjaer (Wolfsburg)
The Danish centre back hasn’t quite lived up to the billing of his early potential but still has the qualities to do so. His partnership with Agger during the European Championships this summer looked formidable. Scandinavian’s also have a reputation for easily acclimatising to English football, and could follow in the footsteps of Villa favourites Mellberg and Laursen. Still only 23 he would provide incredibly healthy competition with Clarke to partner Ron Vlaar. Having returned toWolfsburg, after a season on loan with Roma, the defender has only made 3 appearances this season so may be seen as surplus to requirements. He would probably cost in the region of £4-5m.
Kara Mbodj (Tromso)
Villa’s midfield has looked incredibly lightweight this season and this is the man that could bulk it up. At 6ft 3 ½ in Kara is an absolute beast, and has been likened to Patrick Viera. He can play as a defensive midfielder or at centre back, which would be incredibly useful considering Villa’s current defensive injury list. Despite being a key player for his club Tromso might find it hard to turn down an offer of around £5m for their Senegalese battle tank.
Marko Marin (Chelsea)
The hugely talented Marko Marin has yet to play a game for his new club Chelsea, and will struggle to do so when competing with the likes of Mata, Oscar, Hazard and Moses. The London club may well be tempted to loan him out to gain some Premier League experience. Villa badly needs creativity and width in their team. With N’Zogbia failing to produce anything of note, since his signing from Wigan, Marin might be the player to provide the sparkle that the French winger can’t/
Philipe Coutinho (Inter Milan)
This would be another loan signing. The little Brazilian magician surely has a great future ahead of him but struggles to get a starting place with the Italian Giants. Last season he was sent on loan to Spanish side Espanyol and scored 5 goals in 16 games. Having only made 5 appearances so far this season for Inter they may allow the 20 year old to leave on loan again to further his football education. He may well be the obvious missing link, between midfield and attack, that the Villa fans are calling out for.
Javier Hernandez (Man Utd)
This is on the assumption that Bent will be sold in January. Admittedly bringing ‘Chicharito’ toVilla Parkis a long shot but, not completely impossible. The little Mexican striker is arguably fourth choice at United behind Rooney, Van Persie and Welbeck, and at 23 maybe getting to the stage in his career when he deserves to be a regular starter. Ferguson would be incredibly reluctant to let him go and even if he did there would, most likely, be a queue of clubs that could offer him European football ahead of Villa. Still you never know, stranger transfers have happened before. Fergie could be tempted by a £15-20m bid, particularly from a club that he wouldn’t see as a threat and also considering that he has a younger Mexican model already at his disposal.
If you were Lambert who would you bring to Villa in January?
image: © ell brown