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The General Brings Transfers Into Focus

What is The General up to?

If my name was Randy Lerner and I had put oodles of my own cash into Aston Villa Football Club I really think, given the scenario we have at the moment with regard to transfers out of and into the club; that I would be beginning to panic.

I could see all that cash and the hard work of the past two years starting to disintegrate because, whether you are a football expert or not, it is patently obvious that with the players we have available at the moment, we do not have a team that is capable of competing in the Premier League.

I know this is restating the obvious but, it needs to be said; we need two right backs, another good central defender to back up Laursen and Davies and we need at least one more left back. In fact, ideally we need two left backs or at least another left footed midfielder who could fill in should whoever we buy(if we buy) gets injured. Then in midfield we need a good winger to play on the right and a constructive playmaker/ ball holder to replace our latest proposed departure. And that is just to get us to a position whereby we might stand still and be in a position to compete for sixth place in the league again.

Given that, with the departures, the team will inevitably take time to settle. So where are we at the moment? In fact, apart from the goalkeeper problem being solved, we have made no progress at all. No, I am not discounting Steve Sidwell, he was not brought in to replace our defecting captain but to give us additional options and strengthen our team. We need these positions filled now, but all we have are vague newspaper reports and blogs saying we are looking at this player, perhaps enquiring about another, thinking about making a bid etc all in the £3 - £4m category. It has been going on for weeks now and we are still, apparently, no nearer strengthening our team than we were at the beginning of the transfer window.

Which brings the question, 'What is The General up to?' right into focus? As one of Randy's right hand men, him saying publicly that, if he asked for it, MON would get £30m for one player is, in my opinion, making a very clear statement. It comes into the 'Put up or step aside' category.

Buy the players we need now and stop pussyfooting about.

MON cannot go through this transfer window with as little activity as in the previous windows because the team, as it stands, is not strong enough to withstand another season as demanding as the last. In addition though, the General's statement goes even further and implies that to really make our team competitive with the top four we need players who are in the market at £10 - £15m even up to £30m, the Bosingwa's and Nelson's of this world to name but two. Rafa Benitez reportedly has no money, but can still find £38m to buy two top class players while we spend a reported £9m on two goalkeepers and a midfielder.

Why are we not buying players in the same category as Liverpool?

One further thought, Randy and the General must know that by making the statement they did that they would be putting pressure on MON to deliver the new players we need forthwith. In addition that the same statement would also invite other clubs to hike up the price of any of their players that we may be interested in. That however is the price we must pay if we are to make progress again this year. I sincerely hope we do!

Obediah




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The Journalist

Writer: Obediah Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Wednesday August 6 2008

Time: 6:09PM

Your Comments

ABSOLOUTLEY RIGHT we need at least 5 more signings in less than 2 weeks and so far we have only brought 4 in jus over a month. very worrying times
ruddy
Sorry to throw in a wet balanket, but I see very little in this article that can be substantiated except with regards to the full-backs position. As far as that is concerned, it will be sorted, I am sure - and this month. The situation is not ideal, but it's a lot to do with losing Barry at the precisely the wrong time. We'll get there, though.
the_lergy
i hope it will be sorted in the next week.. to be fair we have a manchester city team who can play a weak team in the ueafa cup an they can rest the likes of jo if they wanted. whereas we don't have enough players to rest so our players will be travelling while most of the man city players will be working for the 1st game of the season. i also don't see why we haven't gone for someone like jo an ben-haim 2 very good players. if u have £30m to spend on one player then i would be going for some of the rising stars just like jo
ruddy
it is a joke the position we are in..we should prioritise getting bodies in and should have since the start of the season,i didnt care at the time but looking back what the hell was our manager doing at the euro's? obviously not looking at the exciting young foreign talent on display?why are the team now in spain?sorry but as a pr exercise going off on a training holiday while practically every fan is pulling there hair out in frustration and probably fear for the coming season its just madness...mr o'neil please talk directly to the fans tell us you WILL have this position and THAT position filled and that we WILL bring in x amount of players...
avflell
Too many things to talk about all in one post, but here's an attempt at the key things for me. It's laughable frankly how the General's fansite posts have developed into news stories that are now being commented on by fansites. Quite fairly he responded to the doubts raised by (some) online supporters about the availability of cash. He didn't say or imply that we need expensive players, just that no limit had been set by Lerner. We are short in some areas, no doubt. But for anyone to suggest that we do not have a team that is capable of competing in the Premier League is beyond gloomy and is borderline hysterical. I think people play too much Fantasy Football/Championship Manager: there's more to football than the value of your squad. I'm looking forward to the season because we've got exciting players, we're in Europe and it was great to watch last season. If we can hold our own in and around the UEFA spots, have a good run in a couple of cups while playing like we did last time then that will be season ticket money well spent. Last thing. As I have read elsewhere, to assume that buying players is just about writing out big cheques is nuts. They've got to be the right players and they need to want to come to us. Some of the names I see on here have every right to be looking for Champs League only, and we can't do that yet. There aren't enough of the right players around, but I do believe we are looking for the right pieces to fit into the jigsaw. It's a medium term game we're playing so let's be patient, relax and enjoy the ride. We are so much better off than we were two years agoso let's not measure our football satisfaction in gossip inches and transfer fees.
Freelancelot
freelancelot?a team capable of competing in the premier league?please fill me in on our starting 11....or i'll make it easier our back for against man city???
avflell
i wish we had mr o'leary in the market an mr o'neil for the games aha
ruddy
yh our back 4 against man city and u can't include barry in the team either cause that wil be cheating
ruddy
answer is we dont have 4 fit defenders at the club(youth players not inc)we have laursen and knight fully fit davies nearly there.....am i forgetting someone????
avflell
you no what i've only just recognised we only have 3 proper defenders available for selection. that is quite worrying if you htink about it
ruddy
dont worry ruddy.freelancelot says your just being hysterical....me too...aaaaaaaaaaaarghh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
avflell
so we have a total of 21 1st team players while man city hav a total of 28 1st team players
ruddy
haha to be fair tho if u look at our squad compared with man city who we will be challenging with next season and the season starting in just over a week deep down you have got to be worried.
ruddy
21 players not inc barry,3 injured,1 never made the bench,3 hardly ever played......come on we are ready....
avflell
i no talk about champions league we haven't even got a squad for mancity i don't think. would have rarther had last seasons squad than the one we have got so far. i mean don't get me wrong martin is a top class manager but when it comes to transfers he doesn't no the 1st things about buying. its not all about young english players nowadays an he doesn't seem to realise that. to challenge with the top 4 u have to look abroad
ruddy
to be fair Freelancelot did say we are short in a few areas. If we signed a LB and a RB i'd be much happier and thats only 2 players. If we get shorey on friday, surely MON can pull a RB out of the bag in the remaining 3 weeks. If not, then even I'll start doubting, but until then I'm with MON and with Freelancelot. I liked your post sir! Right now back to picking my vital fantasy football team, who shall I have at RB........?
tonybrum
ruddy - MON knows there are other nationalities and age groups for that matter. He's just signed two yanks remember and one of them's almost older than me. Anyway i'm off to the pub to discuss erm, RB's.
tonybrum
we still have aload of *****e that needs shifting if your intrested??? rocha, stalteri, kevin prince boateng, etc etc....they have no place in our new star studded team.....although they could do a half decent job at villa....any takers???? 30mil for the 3???
lillywhites101
yes but he has so far brought english speaking players this summer. and if i heard i had £30m to spend on one player i would be looking at player like ricardo queresma:S if thats how you spell it. i'm sure we was linked with him ages ago but it went away. realy though he is only buying 3-4million£ players and i dont think that is good enough when other teams spend over £10m on 1 player.
ruddy
ruddy, i agree that martin o'neil is a great manager.however just for fun who would you have as manager now that we have 100% backing from randy,brian little,john gregory,graham taylor,david o'leary or big ron? maybe mr fear could run a poll?
avflell
£30m for those 3 no thanks
ruddy
i would have john gregory or o'leary just for the transfer market. and if im wrong at the end of the summer il hold my hands up an say im wrong
ruddy
It's not a question of not having money to spend, more about who wants to come to us...
olafthegreat
yes john gregory could certainly attract the big names we would have had keane and juniniho but for a couple of quid...
avflell
big ron hands down
eltoro
That lad Cahill at Bolton looks alright for cover at centre back.
VillaYamYam
i dont think its either olafthegreat i think mon only wants players with the right attitude and i think that as much as it would appease us buying a £20m player if he had an attitude problem or started causing trouble with the other players that might be far worse for us,i dont think he got rid of so many players for no reason there must have been something about them that didnt fit the mon mould...
avflell
big ron is a legend...but was underfunding his downfall?
avflell
this is actually becoming farcical.
ric112
yes yam yam he's the only one that mon said he didnt want to sell, but apart from barry if you ask to go; then you go....thats what he was getting at when he said he needs to get back to running the club the way he has always ran his clubs
avflell
Just like last year.........we all bite our fingernails hoping for some signings. We don't want signings for the hell of it, we need signings through necessity! Our squad is thin and thats a fact. Why are we always having to wait around for new players when other teams competing for the same position, i:e Pompey getting their act together and building a solid team. Come on get a move on!
bellywipes
lillywhites101 What happened to last seasons star studded team? Oh yes, they finished, how far behind us? feel free to refresh my memory.
steff_the_villan
With the current available players I we can only pick 1 back line Davies - Laursen - Knight i.e. 3 at the Back! LWB-Barry, RWB-Gardener, CM-Petrov-Reo, AM-Young, CF Gabby-Carew. 3-4-1-2 Barry may leave but I would not let him leave before we have a left-side replacement...... Anybody bet its Shorey in.... Barry out
AVFC_WSM
all we need i players fast the manager was on about not panic buying but its got to a stage wher we need about another 5-7 players and the season starts in just over a week. and i think anyone who looks at spurs would think why didn't we try and get dos santos or modric cause they would be welcome anyday. and so far our best signing is a keeper which we do need but we have needed a rb for a year now and stil we haven't got one. i mean i realy did look forward to the summer but now i am starting to worry when clearley there is funds available but it's not being spent. we need signings asap!!!!!!!!!!!!!! genral please look at this site and tell martin to buy someone fast!!!!!!!!!!!
ruddy
should do a poll asking with the squad we currently have where will we finish and then at the end of the summer
ruddy
i think we may now get shorey as the link is getting stronger ,strange how no comments from the players especially sidwell you would think the press would be homing in on him?must have been gagged after the sidwell deal when gardner and davies were welcoming him before he even signed..
avflell
steff_the_vilan........last seasons signings were not of the calibre this year.....you lot would p-i-s-s yourselves if MON said he had signed modric, dos santos and bentley.....alas, you will end up with sidwell and another one of our reserve players LOL.....absolute class lads. pmsl
lillywhites101
lillywhites your buying like man city did last year and look what happened to them....oh they didnt sell there best player to there nearest rivals though?
avflell
yh but if we did get 3 players like that they could fit in wheras man city bought a whole new team
ruddy
Alleluia Obediah! You are so, so correct - as confirmed by many of the posts. As far as THE GENERAL is concerned - look at him - look at the photo – MAD AS A BOX OF FROGS! Sign some players please - NO MORE B***S*** PLEASE. Randy - it's up to you now, get involved - make sure that the club has credibility bearing in mind its public aspirations. Mr Lerner, you have run a multi-billion dollar business – do you accept the current situation? I run a much smaller enterprise but still turnover a few (million) quid – I’d definitely change things – we are halfway through the fifth transfer window.
26.05.82
Great article. Players must now start arriving with so little left before the start of the season, but in typical MON fashion there will probley a mass influx during the 24 hours leading up to the close of the window. With the general talking out like he has does that mean they(Randy and the general) are getting a bit fustrated by the lack of players arriving knowing that they are in volved with the club day in day out and see first hand how our squad stands.
pksandell
i couldn't agree more with this article except that you could add a striker to that list too. We hear about this 5 year plan to start competing for a champions league spot, but if we are investing much less than the teams that we a trying to catch its just not going to happen
liamo1981
pksandell - I hope The General doesn't speak for Mr Lerner. Maybe he knows how Mr Lerner feels, but I hope and pray Randy can speak for himself - when appropriate - and I think that is now? We have a tiny squad, our Captain is about to leave and we haven't made any significant signings. The General says we can buy £30M players but we don't (can't?). We could so easily move up a gear and really challenge the so called big four, if we miss this chance to move on it could be many, many years before another opportunity presents itself.
26.05.82
in mons defence he is building a TEAM,11 players who know and respect what each other are doing,who will work so hard together to win matches,he doesnt rotate the players when one is off form,he works with them to regain there confidence,he only changed the team last year when injuries or suspentions made him,so you need a very special type of player that will put up with waiting for 6 months to get a chance,one that isnt in the managers office demanding a transfer,players that dont complain ,like harewood,salifoo,routlege,taylor,and davies...imagine buying a striker for £18m then him wanting to leave in january because he cant dilodge carew or gabby? we'd look pretty stupid and lose a load of cash too....
avflell
avflell.....check out the latest deloitte prem financial review.....the club in best financial shape in the league is spurs.....massive assets with almost zero debt.
lillywhites101
I hope Randy can speak for himself to, he is a very quiet reserved man that does not like to public limelight, but i agree with you 26.05.82 may be this might be the time for randy to speak. assure the fans, players are being searched for and investment in the squad will happen, but without signings happening will the fans believe him?
pksandell
doesnt arshavin want to go to spuds because " they play attractive football"? i dont think so, fell asleep numerous times watchen that shower of s***e on sky. when it comes to attractive football watchen villa counter attack as a TEAM is THE best sight in the premiership
rhymez1
avflell - trying to build a team? How long is it reasonable to wait before MON as a player for each position? Remember we are a progressive aspirational club - we haven't even got that problem sorted yet - let alone cover for each position! Sorry it’s too slow. MON is a cracking match day manager - I'm beginning to think he is ****e at transfers - when it comes to BIG names.
26.05.82
yep i agree 26.05.82
ruddy
lilleywhites not disputing how much money you have i dont really care,having the best 11 players doesnt mean the best team as you no doubt would agree,so you can go around and buy all the stars and we'll see what happens..if mon gets in 4/5 players that he wants i will be more confident of our chances than yours.
avflell
dont get me wrong 260582 we've had this discussion before i'm as flaming mad as you at the situation why else do you think i sit at this damn laptop for hours on end winding myself up waiting for a crumb of hope....lol
avflell
boys realy we just drawed to a spanish team who i have never heard of 1-1 you telling me with all this pre season we don'y need alot more players
ruddy
well have we got all this money??? i know Deano questioned it when commentating for setanta against odense. the going rate for any half decent player now is £12-15 mil and I believe from a recent article on here we've spent around 35mil net (around 17 mil if the barry deal goes through). Put that in to context against the alleged 35 that united will pay for tevez and spurs have prob spent that on this seasons signings alone then we havent really shown any sign of a massive transfer kitty. we've had fitzgerald and his world class signings promise, enter knight and harewood, mon and the right back who would be worth waiting for, exit right mellberg and hughes and now Krulak. The latters comments were twisted somewhat by the media but its no wonder that some fans are a little worried going on past form.
themightyatom
Obediah - do you really believe what you've written or is this just a "wind-up" to relieve the boredom until the season gets underway? We'll no doubt get another one or two signings, maybe three if Barry goes. We'll be ok and we will continue to progress slowly but surely you see. Krulak must think we're mad to keep going on about the same old rubbish!
villacross
yes but it isn't rubbish is it it's called being able to challenge and so far we aint got a squad capable of challenging for anything. we hav young and carew but if one of them were to get injured then who fills in??? harewood maybe but i think anybody would pick carew
ruddy
yes ruddy, stark contrast to last year thrashing of inter milan they just couldnt handle ash and gabby...not the same feel good this year eh?
avflell
maybe it's because all these players who hav left and now thinking we had one lucky year ithout injuries. just the one injury 2 young and where do the set pices come from or the runs?/? it just feels like we need alot more players this year cause now were in the 4th year we now expect a high finish and we realy do deserve it. 1st ever premier leagur we were 2nd and since then we have been through a relegation scrap
ruddy
No lads lets sit on our laurels, like we did after winning the European cup and get relegated in a couple of seasons! 6th may have been better than 11th but it is hardly what Randy is demanding. MON get signing !
Villan57
Villacross - yes, I believe it. The bottom line is we do not have a team, at the moment, that can compete in the premiership and because of Bouma's injury and Barry's impending departure and Mellberg having gone we need five players just to stand still. Then, given that Knight has aberrations we need a good CB and a winger to give us a bit of an edge. And that still does not give us options unless Salifou and Rutledge really can come good, plus we need back-ups in other positions as it is very unlikely we will go through this next season with so few serious injuries.
Obediah
well we were lucky with injuries last year however we have absolutely the best medical facilities in the country at the new bodymore and tend to get them fixed up much quicker,i think we need either a couple of full backs like tommorow!or some comunication from mon himself telling us that everything will be alright!!!!!!!!
avflell
yes but he has told us before and a month later we are all starting to panic.
ruddy
Obediah, you cannot be serious? Villa will not be signing players like Torres...certainly not for 23mil.....and certainly not for the forseeable future at least....you must be able to understand why?.......no?............. Champions League and silverware....its the future!...(Look at Spurs...11th in the league, a good UEFA cup run and the league cup, and they sign Modric, Dos Santos and Bentley)...we may only be 12 months away from a similar position. MON will get it right, no doubt in my mind.
ashtonvilla
ashtonvilla i think i can start to understand where u come from but stil this is our 5th tranfer window. and before the window he knew we were the smallest squad with intertoto football and ineed of signings and so far we have realy had nothing and barry clearley 1 of our best players
ruddy
who is going 2 leave*
ruddy
And lets get realistic, Spurs, Portsmouth and maybe even Sunderland are going to give us and Everton a run for top 6......Even if we sign 4 defenders, 3 midfielders, 2 strikers and a partridge in a pear tree its going to be a tough season in the league...
ashtonvilla
so far we havn't got a team capable of challenging
ruddy
When I look at the list of squad numbers panic sets in. But I did that last seaaon and things went pretty well. MON took over a shambles and look what he's done. But, I have to admit, I'm bloody worried right now.
Beovilla
ruddy, you say it well, I cant deny MON is tight with the cash and seemingly a bit picky when it comes to players...in fact, he's not got a great history with transfer windows. At least with Barry off and no replacement being talked about because of our desparate need for defenders, the likes of Salifou, Routledge, Osbourne and Petrov will have to step in and perform. And Ive made this point before but our kids aint bad, the likes of Allbrighton, Stieber, Bannan and Baker are in his thoughts........... I remember when people thought you could never win anything with kids!!
ashtonvilla
I hope you're bloody well right!
NorthcliffeBandit
So far I can only hope that new players like spuds have bought prove to be crud, then we can laugh our way to the bank.
NorthcliffeBandit
yh but those kids won't come good for another 4-5 years and by then we could have got relegated which could happen with the squad being so small. anywayz im off to bed and hoping to wakeup with a rb or a lb:D
ruddy
ruddy overall who have we lost? Mellberg, thats it, until Barry finally *****s off. So that means we have essentially the same squad as last year, you know when we finished 6th. But instead of carson and sorenson we've got friedel and guzan. Moore wasn't good enough but delfouneso could be the next gabby. Berger injured and didn't play, sidwell has got to be an improvement. Then there's routledge, osbourne, salifou, steiber, o'halloran who didn't get their chance last year but should this. If MON didn't rate them they wouldn't be in the team (then we would be in the *****!). We won't have a weaker squad this year. Its about BUILDING a squad and thats what MON's doing. Get shorey in and one or two others and I think we will have made progress. And remember the transfer window isn't over yet. Come on, have a bit of faith, or do you really believe MON doesn't know what he's doing and you know better?
tonybrum
redundant - sorry.
los_angeles_villan
tonybrum - losing Mellie,Bouma and GB is a massive hole in that team and haven`t been replaced.
ASPINALL
The main problem is attracting players to our club,We are no where as big as liverpool at the moment thats why,It is not about the money it is about only just being back in europe after seven years of being *****e.
lerneravfc
yes aspinall, but do you see any positive points from our signings and the players MON has waiting in the wings that people seem to forget? MON doesn't want to sell Barry and he has yet to leave and is it me or does the lack of any movement from liverpool look like they may not be able to afford after all. Now wat would be funny! Although it would be a blow to the team if he left, it is a team and it gives players like NRC, Sidwell and Petrov a chance to show what they've got. Also it would appear (fingers crossed) that we may get Shorey in soon in addition to still having Bouma who should play again this year. Though we could still do with a bit more depth, but hopefully MON will be able to attract a few more in the next few weeks. As lerneracfc said its not a money issue its just trying to get top quality players and not journeymen to come to the club. Until 1st sept as far as I'm concerns its fingers crossed and keeping the faith.
tonybrum
well hopefully the signing of sidwel could attract shorey
ruddy
villa in talks with young - boro's official site. wow could have a LB and a RB by the weekend. As everyone takes huge sigh of relief!
tonybrum
come on the villllllllllllllllllllllllaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
JeffBeck-TheLeftSide
that is a hugh sigh of relief
ruddy
Not too sure that The Generals comments will help us in the long run. He should have kept to his usual policy of not discussing anything to do with transfers. He's not involved in the loop, so better to have kept quiet.
glensider
Randy clearly has every faith in MON to secure the required signings, and thats the way it should be. Any comments from RL or the board could be viewed as interference, MON doesn't need that, nor would he take kindly to it. He knows what we need, if he hasn't brought in the required quality/numbers by September 1st, then yes, in that aspect of his job, he will have been found wanting.
glensider
Our 9.65m record transfer is a bit shameful if you look around at other clubs, it would be nice to break it by some margin and get a real classy player.
Villa 4 Ever
Wouldn't it just Villa 4 Ever. I cant see us spending the really big bucks on just one player under MON though, it doesn't seem his style. 10-12m maybe, but above that, I'm not so sure.
glensider
 

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