Writer: Dan Jones
Date:Monday May 19 2008
In recent weeks Aston Villa have been linked to Arsenal Right Back Justin Hoyte, 23. Speculation over a possible move for the former England Under 21 International has become more credible following Chelsea`s capture of Villa target Jose Bosingwa, who completed his £16.2million move from Porto.
So what do we know about Hoyte?
Hoyte made his league debut for Arsenal in May 2003 as an 89th minute substitute in Arsenal`s 6-1 victory over Southampton. Following early promise the following season he was restricted to appearances in the clubs League Cup campaign.
During the 2004/05 season, Hoyte made four starts. The first of which being at Carrow Road for Arsenals league match against Norwich City, he was a last minute selection following an injury to Pascal Cygan in the pre-game warm up, Justin played as centre back.
Hoyte spent the 2005/06 season on loan at Sunderland, despite interest from Ipswich Town, it was Arsene Wenger`s wish that he spent the season playing Premiership football as part of his development. During that season he made 31 appearances for the Black Cats even scoring a goal in a local derby game against Newcastle United.
Hoyte began the 2006-07 season as Arsenal`s Left back due to injuries to Gael Clichy and Ashley Cole. He reverted to his favoured Right back position following Clichy`s return to fitness, this time he was acting as cover for Emmanuel Eboue. On 2nd January 2007 he became the first Englishman to score for Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium when he managed to put the ball past Charlton Athletic`s on loan keeper Scott Carson.
Justin had also been a regular in the England Under 21s making 18 appearances including all four of England`s games at the UEFA Under-21 Championships in 2007.
It was the summer of 2007 that papers started to link Hoyte with a possible move to Villa. With Aaron Hughes joining Fulham, Phil Bardsley returned to Man Utd following his 5 month loan and Villa favourite Mark Delaney forced to retire due to injury, it was obvious that Villa required a new Right back. For reasons unknown the deal was never struck.
Justin is held in high regard by Arsene Wenger but at 23, it would appear he is ready for some first team football. I reckon that Arsenal would value him at about £4million. As well as being able to play Right back, he would be able to provide cover for Bouma and the Centre backs. My suggestion to Martin O`Neill would be to sign a good young Right back and bring in Stephen Carr on a free as cover.
Is Justin Hoyte the answer to all of our problems? He has certainly spent many season`s with the potential tag, but there comes a time in every players career when they have to show what they are capable of, for Justin he seems to have all the attributes that Martin O`Neill likes in his players - young, English and full of potential, but can he do it week in week out in the best league in the world? Thankfully it`s a decision for MON to make and not mine!!
Date:Monday May 19 2008
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