Writer: Derry Villan
Date:Sunday July 15 2007
When the news emerged yesterday that Aston Villa would not be signing trialist Steve Mandanda the sense of summer frustration seemed to deepen among some fans.
Surely that is ridiculous? Steve Mandanda is not Ronaldo, Ronaldinho or even Ronnie Wallwork - he's a 22-year-old keeper, currently playing for a French Ligue 2 side who, reading between the lines, failed to impress Martin O'Neill sufficiently to deserve a contract.
Speaking of Mandanda, O'Neill told the club's official site: 'We will be monitoring him, but we never got as far as discussing a price. He trained with us for three or four days and he trained well. He was doing fine. We will keep an eye on things, but we will certainly not be doing anything in the near future.'
If he was good enough, there is little doubt that O'Neill would have splashed Randy's cash. For if the £2million L'Equipe claimed Le Havre wanted is correct, that's still £8million less than Hearts expect for Scotland international shot-stopper Craig Gordon!
And while some of us may be growing frustrated with the lack of summer transfer activity, or at least in the 'in' column, let's not use the decision not to offer a contract to a distinctly average keeper who would struggled to become third-choice at Villa Park as an extra stick to hit O'Neill with.
We are currently marching towards the sunlit uplands after being stuck in the sunken valleys for years - and the chances of O'Neill not adding to the squad by the end of the transfer window is, quite frankly, laughable. So much so that if he doesn't, he should really consider his position!
But once again, let's take a proper look at this - not signing players who will collect wages and never play should be taken as a sign of the positive changes at Villa Park and not a bad thing. We shouldn't be dealing with these sort of players as we move forward, and thankfully it seems we won't be.
Date:Sunday July 15 2007
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