Not sure about everyone else but I feel that this season, whatever its conclusion may be, has given us Villans a lot to be proud of. Maybe we will miss out on Champions league qualification, and that would be a great shame after all of our efforts, but we have given it a bloody good go, and will hopefully continue to do so.
Now the only thing we must do is not allow our season of good work to go to waste over the summer. We have to make signings which will improve us as a team, and perhaps even more importantly, a squad. Our first team is pretty good, perhaps lacking in quality in a couple of areas, our squad however has shown that it is not strong enough to compete over a long long season. Now the question in who would best be able to strengthen our side is thankfully not up to me, it is up to our leader, one Martin O'Neill. I would however like to venture a few suggestions. :)
Firstly as highly as I rate young Gabby, he is not a machine, he can not play full tilt for an entire season. We need a front line striker who will score goals, at a reasonable price, simple as that! Easier said than done.
However one player who would come for about £10 000 000 is Darren Bent. Yes he would be a Spurs reject, but he is also a young striker who is a proven goal scorer, not a common beast. A good shout I feel. Other than him I feel we would be able to look at someone along the lines of Owen, again a proven goal scorer who would come relatively cheap, he is however old, and more worryingly has an injury record which, if he were a racehorse would have seen him shot a LONG time ago. Other than him I feel we would be looking abroad.
Another area I feel we need to improve, especially if we lost Barry, is a midfielder with some creative ability. We have looked distinctly average when we have been asked to unlock a team which has sat back and for that reason we need a playmaker. I have heard players such as Tom Huddlestone and Jermaine Jenas. Both of these are of course Spurs rejects, and it would take some severe nerve to pick up rejects and bite the bullet of ridicule from the Spud's, however both of these players do possess some ability, Jenas especially. Would either of these players strengthen our side!? I would argue no, even without Barry's services.
One player suggested who would interest me is Stephen Defour, a young player who looks to be blessed with great ability. A risk, yes. However I would argue a pretty good risk, and a player who would greatly interest me! Again other than these 3 candidates I am struggling for realistic candidates, so feel free to venture an idea!
The final area which I would suggest we need players is on defense. Both at full back, and secondly a quality centre half, especially if Laursen is unable to regain the fitness which allowed him to be arguably the best defender in the league. At full back unless we could poach either Lescott or Baines from Everton I am struggling for answers.
At centre half I have heard Upson, who would be a good shout, or even (again another steal from Blue Scouse) Phil Jagielka or perhaps Hangeland from Fulham, to replace Laursen's aerial dominance. I feel these are some of the best bets. In my opinion we must strengthen our first team, which should in turn lend depth to the squad. Couple this with the development of some of our promising youngsters I feel this would allow us another decent run at the Champions league, and perhaps (if O'Neill finds them worthy! :D) a cup run.
Not a bad few months of business if many of them come true. Hopefully these signings will be showcasing their talents on a Champions League stage after a barnstorming end to the season, but either way, here's to the Villa Summertime!! :o)