Writer: J P Fear
Date:Tuesday October 24 2006
With plenty of talk already about transfer expectations its obvious even the Messiah has no real idea what he will be given to spend or whether he's confident he'll be able to bring in the sort of player he wants as he says they might be involved in Europe and not too keen to come to a failing Midland club until the summer.
Wise words. he knows much more than he's letting on of course and is continuing to play down expectations of most fans.
Personally his past record at Villa is more than enough to suggest his ideas on suitable choices is 'old fashioned' and a careful analysis of both his tactics and purchases past and present suggest much the same.
Petrov he bought as a promising kid and grew with him. When he departed from Celtic Petrov stayed but much of his form departed too. He joins Villa in a blaze of glory against West Ham, and has gone backwards, both in team position and form since.
Sutton is an atypical O'Neill transfer, a quality player with a dodgy past on and off the field, who he puts faith in and turns into something like the talent he is. Since O'Neill left Celtic, he's not uprooted many trees and moved to Blues where after a few decent looking performances he gets 'injured'. On the ropes again O'Neill snaps him up, and with the shortage of players, having allowed, Phillips, DLC and others to go, it could be a decent short term idea. So far he still looks overweight, under fit and far from able to offer anything useful. He does of course enable O'Neill to play his favourite system, personally I'm not that impressed.
Lastly we have Agathe, another unknown turned into a demon right midfield/fullback at Celtic whose speed bailed their defence out repeatedly and whose crossing ability enabled a big heavy centre forward to bruise his way to plenty of goals.
Since O'Neill left he's gone backwards and his few performances since joining Villa haven't shown much sign he's got much in the locker to open Premiership defences, even poor ones as Fulham's left side was, its early yet of course but the indications look poor.
We are short on talent, past the basic 15 team members, my expectation for January isn't as high as some, O'Neill's latest comments on Sky support this, he's certainly not giving the impression that he sees it likely that the real talent we need to push on will be his bag.
My real problem here is, that to do with the available talent, or his reticence to buy the sort of player the modern successful team needs. There are only so many ex Celtic players left and whilst it can be a good policy to buy out of favour players and inspire them, that policy is very limited.
Its good for teams aiming for mid table security, but for teams looking to break free from the Ellis years, no way.
Date:Tuesday October 24 2006
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