Writer: J P Fear
Date:Monday June 4 2007
I've seen several small articles in various Villa related sites, putting forward suggestions for why its better we sign players later rather than earlier, wonder why, does it have anything to do with O'Neill's reputation for leaving matters until the last minute ?
In fairness some contributors go as far as to suggest its better O'Neill adapts this ploy, it ensures they say we don't get panic buys like DJ x 2, which may be true.
Hence I've pondered the question 'when is the best time'
Logically between season end and window closing is the answer, some 10 weeks is it? Bearing in mind O'Neill only had 2 weeks from when he joined last season, and we may surmise, maybe he had some major financial restrictions too. Obviously managers have different styles, seems O'Neill's is for leaving things until late and buying in older experienced players usually on a downslope who return some great performances before being moved on after having earned more money than they dreamed of for two maybe three seasons.
I remember when Thompson left us for Celtic, I didn't shed many tears, he'd done a decent job, but lacked that something, the fee paid was amazing for us we do tend to give players away. He did well enough though which again makes me wonder about the level of football in Scotland, 6 hard games a season ok for me.
The Premiership is a completely different kettle of fish of course, harder than ever now more teams have better financial backing, certainly harder than when O'Neill last managed there.
Leaving things until the last minute would I reckon, mean you have to pay more than normal, simply because as the season approaches selling clubs have less time to find replacements and are less keen to sell. Player also have made their mind to stay at a club and unless they are a player who knows he isn't wanted will not be too keen to consider upping and moving, especially if its across borders, even continents.
Plus in this day and age of media friendly agents its bloody hard to find a player who isn't available. From what I know, we all know, agents make it very obvious which players are or aren't available, even, I'd suggest players who are available, even if their club doesn't know it.
There will always be the surprise transfer or three, but usually they cost a fortune, and with all respect Villa fans, I can't see an Essien or a Kaka being persuaded to join Villa no matter what fee or wage we
pay.Which in itself brings an added problem for O'Neill, he'll be choosing from a limited pack, one which is diminishing as each week passes.I'll explain further, hopefully.
First he needs quality, not the sort of quality he's bought pre Villa mind, he doesn't need Lennon's, Thompson's, Heskey's although all might do a job as Sutton nearly has. If as it is rumoured he's allowing Moore, Ridgewell, and Davis to leave if they want, I can't see the point of replacing them with near past it, older players. He's seemingly giving Mellberg, McCann new contracts, Berger has one already, are they better long term, even short term assets to the club than the above 3? No.
Back to transfer timings, European leagues are still in action and usually when they close the real transfer merry go around starts in earnest, two problems here, O'Neill has said he prefers UK based players
and many of those top players aren't coming to Villa this season, we can't offer enough. But when it starts the snowball effect comes into operation and more players are available who maybe weren't before.
So although I'd have preferred to see a few positive moves, Parker is a huge miss as is Distin, I'm not too concerned yet, especially when I concede Young, Carew and Maloney were huge if mainly ineffectual buys in January, in comparison to other clubs.
Where I am very concerned is the number of players we require. We needed plenty before we lost Samuel, Hendrie, DJx2, and now Moore, Davis and Ridgewell maybe, but then that has nothing to do with timing ;)
Leaving transfers to last minute brinkmanship is no longer a viable Premiership tactic in my view, if O'Neill hasn't decided who he wants by now, he's plainly not been doing his job, this suggestion he's waiting to make sure is just plain and simple daft excuse making. My thoughts are he needs others to start things off, Liverpool to buy before they sell, Man Utd to get their striker from Spain, and so on. Then we will see action.
Date:Monday June 4 2007
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