What The Hell Is Going On With Stephen Ireland?
A report in the Daily Mail (click here) by Neil Moxley says that Stephen Ireland would be allowed to leave Villa Park after a short and thus far unsuccessful spell IF Villa can get the £8million they paid for him (as part of the James Milner deal).
The report, amongst others, claim that Ireland has told Gerard Houllier that he wants out. I believe Sky are reporting that Ireland has put in a transfer request.
Houllier is quoted in the Mail as saying:
"Stephen has told his agent that he wants to go in January. I'm not convinced about that. But once a player says he wants to go, he can go.'
Will Villa be able to get their money back though? Will any club come in and pay the wages, reported to be around £65 000 (why would anyone want to leave a GREAT club like Villa and especially whilst being paid that sort of money?) as well as paying £8m? Open to debate that isn`t it as despite being a 'prospect` he fell out with the regime at Manchester City and now it appears at Villa. Clubs don`t like to pay top money for players who look like they could be 'trouble`.
Houllier also told the press he has told the player that he expects more from him, adding 'I haven't said anything wrong about him. But I think there is a discrepancy between what I see in training and what I see in a game. I told his agent that was the only problem. He has got to sort that out. I like the man, the player. He's got some skill, touch, an eye for a pass. But he has got to adapt to modern football as well."
Houllier also wants all players to move closer to Villa Park - rightly - (which is a worry as Ashley Young has moved further down South!)
'He does not live in Birmingham and hasn't moved house. I am quite patient but it has been a huge shock for him coming from Manchester City. At the moment, he is not in the squad and will not be travelling to Wigan. It's a football decision. Nothing else.'
So.. Ireland... looks like the end of the road but then, if no club comes in for him?
Another question that should be asked, should Houllier be talking so publicly about the players? In some ways I like knowing what is going on but then again, could his comments about Ireland not putting in the effort in training be part of the problem that unsettled and made Ireland unhappy? Bit of a chicken and egg question I guess.
One thing is for sure, there will be a good few departures as Houllier brings in his 'own` players and hopefully blends them with the players who are happy at Villa and proud to be at such a good club as well as with the very promising youth players breaking through right now.
The links to him so far:
Stephen Ireland considering his future: Click Here
Stephen Ireland off to Stoke on loan? Click Here
Stephen Ireland to Everton. Click Here
According to quotes on Sky Sports.com one link that is just total rubbish is the Stephen Ireland to Celtic on loan.
The Hoops manager Neil Lennon told Sky "We are looking at areas where we can improve the squad but I wouldn't say he (Ireland) is a candidate or anything like that. There is a lot of names being thrown at us from clubs and agents and it would be unfair to talk about individuals."
Our forum thread... usual warning, adult language etc... ! Click Here
As you can see from the first page, he has been linked with a move to Liverpool. That I guess would make sense if he doesn`t want to move house... (that sentence is baffling, I`d have crawled over broken glass to play at the level these players are at and yet some don`t want to move house for a few years?!!?)
What has been missed in this is if the players confidence could be regained, there is a very good player hiding there! Has it gone too far, does he really not want to be at the club? If so, there is no way back, but if they could meet in the middle and start again.....?
So, Ireland off then!