Writer: Dan Jones
Date:Thursday May 6 2010
So in a few days time the season will be over and the build up for the World Cup will really begin.
However while the players are preparing for their trips to South Africa or going down to Comet to pick up a huge HDTV to watch it on, the managers of the league will be (or should be) planning for next season, who to sign and perhaps just as important who to sell.
Aston Villa's Martin O'Neill will be no different, his side have only just missed out on a top4 finish this season and he will be hoping to have another crack at it next year (or at least I believe he will), who he will bring in is very much up for debate, Robbie Keane and Carlton Cole just two of the names linked in the press.
However what I would like to do today is look at the players who might be leaving the club. It is only a bit of fun and speculation but please leave your comments as to who you see leaving this summer.
Luke Young - For whatever reason, Luke has found his chances in the first team limited this season as O'Neill has preferred the Spanish centre back Carlos Cuellar to play in the right back role. Luke is a brilliant full back and could move to just about any team. Spurs who similarly to Villa have had a centre back filling the role this season might be interested in bringing him back to the club as they prepare for the Champions League, maybe West Ham or Sunderland would fancy him? Both sides should be aiming for the top half really despite a disappointing season this year for both and Luke would be a great addition to both clubs.
Steve Sidwell - Only a few years ago he was playing a part in the greatest season in Reading's recent history, Chelsea pipped us in the battle to sign him but his appearances were perhaps unsurprisingly low and after only a handful of games he joined the Villa. Unfortunately it hasn't worked out for him, some glimpses of the player we remember from Reading, but he`s struggled to establish himself in the team and he must be desperate to leave the club and reignite his career. Where to though? Well like Luke Young above, I could see him as an ideal signing for Sunderland, but any of the clubs from the bottom half would be a great place for Sidwell to get back to his best, perhaps Newcastle would be interested in him?
Nigel Reo-Coker - Our big money signing in O'Neill's first full summer at Villa, and although in year one he played almost every game by year two he was playing right back and year three has seen him barely get a game. Nigel has commented that he would like to run down his contract, which will be in its final year next term. However his falling out with O'Neill was made public and it might be that Martin wants to move him on. Fulham are a realistic destination, he is a London lad and Roy Hodgson was linked to him earlier in the season.
Habib Beye - A huge fan favourite at Newcastle, and possibly a random signing by Villa as he hasn't got anywhere near the first team this season barring the odd appearance. His wages are reportedly among the highest at the club but he is 33 in October and might be desperate to play more regularly, maybe Newcastle will re-sign him?
Curtis Davies - I really like Curtis, opinions are divided on the former West Brom centre back though, one thing is for sure though, with James Collins and Richard Dunne in the team, he is unlikely to get many games next season. He might go out on loan next season as suggested by some fans but I think Curtis will prefer to move on and get his career back on track. Not a clue where he would go, I think he is of Premiership quality but there are not many clubs calling out for centre back, maybe if Gary Cahill leaves Bolton then he will go there and team up with former Villa team-mate Zat Knight.
John Carew - A very popular Holte End Hero, although some don't like the bloke he does score goals there is no arguing with that. Some call him lazy, and I am not sure O'Neill is a big fan of Big John. If an offer comes in for Carew (who would be in the final year of his contract next season) then I reckon he would go. Recently linked to Fulham in the press, I could see Carew going somewhere in Europe though.
So who else will be off? Nicky Shorey is a dead cert I think and Marlon Harewood is nowhere to be seen so must be on his way too. Isaiah Osbourne is at an age now where he will want regular football and that is not something Villa could offer him. Emile Heskey might be a possibility, and I won't be surprised to see Brad Guzan go either on loan or be sold elsewhere.
James Milner, Ashley Young and Richard Dunne could leave following good seasons, with Man Utd and Man City supposedly sniffing round Young and Milner. But the Villa fans will be hoping they are all still here on 1st September.
Its going to be a huge summer, lots of transfers in and out.
Date:Thursday May 6 2010
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