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Villa Players - Who Should Stay & Who Should Go?

The season has finally come to an end and I can honesty say I plan on blocking this past year's campaign out of my memory. McLeish is officially gone and that gives me a great deal of relief and optimism. There is a busy summer ahead for Aston Villa and I think it's a good time to start speculating about transfers and what will happen with our current squad. So without further adieu, here is my rundown of our current squad, player by player, as well as my opinion on whether they should stay or go. Enjoy.

The team:

Darren Bent: Obviously a great player and probably would have hit 20 goals had he not been injured. Most likely would have made us finish much higher up the table. However as good as Benty is, if whoever is managing the club has anywhere less than 25-30m to spend in the summer, it may be a good idea to sell him off. The extra transfer cash and looser wage bill could open up new areas of investment and with strikers like Bas Dost and others likely to be frequently linked, we should be able to find a good replacement to add to the attack up front.

Verdict - Prob. keep/ maybe sell

Gabby Agbonlahor: Gabby can be absolutely deadly up front and can terrify defenses with his excellent pace and agility. The problem with Gabby now is he is severely lacking in confidence. A new manager who knows how to motivate players will work wonders for Gabby and I think we can look forward to an excellent season from our favorite villan.

Verdict: Keep

Andreas Wiemann: It is certainly a testament to Darren Bent's leadership abilities be able to realize Wiemann's talents and work with him in and after training. He looks a star on the rise and I'm very excited to see what this machine is capable of this coming campaign.

Verdict: Keeper for sure

Nathan Delfouneso: Nathan is tricky since others in the academy are beginning to develop faster than him. At 23 he needs to be pushing for more first team chances and going on loan at that age does not usually spell success for a striker on a mid-tier premier league team. Unless Nathan shows brilliance in the preseason, it may be time for him to move on to a team that could really use him.

Verdict: Sell

Emile Heskey: Meh. Not much to say here. Can get in good positions when he tries, just puts it wide 90% of the time.

Verdict: Already gone

Charles N'Zogbia: Zoggy was a signing that made virtually no sense for McLeish. He is almost completely attack minded and works well with an attacking managerial style. And despite him being not suited at all to McDrawball, he hasn't done all that horribly. Charles needs a manager who can lead who can guide him and keep him in line and he will produce.

Verdict: Keep

Marc Albrighton: Marc has had an up and down time at Villa and it's showed in the amount of games he's played. He had a break-out season last year but failed to build on it. The pressure of replacing Downing and Young may have played a part in his drop of form which is hard for any young player. Marc should be kept at least another year to prove himself but if he does not show a decent amount of improvement this season I would not be surprised if he is off loaded.

Verdict: Keep for now

Stephen Ireland: One of the very few players who had actually improved this season, Stevie could be a huge asset to the club in years to come bringing with him skill and experience. I think his attitude has dramatically improved since Christmas and he will only see his form improve in Claret and Blue. Could be a future captain if he continues to show more maturity.

Verdict: Keep

Chris Herd: Here's a player I'm a bit conflicted about as to whether he will be a asset or a liability. Though he's shown bits of quality throughout the season, he's been nowhere near consistent and his club antics in Birmingham show a sense of immaturity on his part. At 23 he is among the oldest of the academy graduates and needs to start showing real form to give the club a reason to keep him. It could be too little, too late for Chris and it will be interesting to see where he fits in this season.

Verdict: Sell - alot of Championship teams would suit him well

Barry Bannan: Probably the academy graduate with the most potential besides perhaps Gardner, Barry showed good signs at the beginning of the season attracting attention from Man U and Liverpool alike before a drop of form as the season went on. (Funny how that kept happening) He could be a huge part of the first team IMO and I wouldn't be surprised if this was his breakout season.

Verdict: Keep

Jean Makoun: This is a difficult one to call since I really haven't seen Jean play at all since his arrival last January. McLeish clearly had no interest in him and he was promptly loaned for the entire season. It's hard to make a judgement until we see him in action this season, but a good offer may be hard to turn down.

Verdict: Sell if we get at least 5M

Gary Gardner: Young player of the season for me and really one our best players in 2012. Gary has loads of potential and could be a star for Villa in the coming years and on England as well. I see big things for this centre-mid and hopefully we won't be sold as soon as Lerner sees cash.

Verdict: Keep

Fabian Delph: Fab has struggled for first team chances and despite his good work ethic tends to produce sloppy play. He is also prone to injury and may have a difficult time re-discovering form. He has a long way to go if he is to fulfill his 8m transfer fee and that alone is reason to keep him this summer.

Verdict: Keep

Stiliyan Petrov: My player of the season and probably player of the past 5 years. Should have his own statue in front of VP and get his number retired IMO. Hardest worker at the club. Get well soon Stan.

And now for the defense...

Richard Dunne: After arriving in 2008 from Manchester City for a good sum of around 10m, Richard had done well for Villa in his 4 seasons with the club. Accept for this year. Dunne has been severely lacking this year in quality and has shown no signs of improvement. He's given away 3 penalties this year if you include the FA cup loss to Arsenal, and has made plenty more defensive mistakes throughout the campaign. Despite all this, he still had a decent reputation in the league. Which means we might be able to pull in around 5m for him.

Verdict: Sell

James Collins: Not much to say here. Work-ethic not good enough and neither is his defending. Add to that his age and no goals from corners, and you have a sale waiting to happen.

Verdict: Sell

Alan Hutton: Oh Alan. In addition to being absolutely hopeless at right-back, Hutton has put some truly awful crosses in this season and been responsible for alot of bad play. However despite all this, I think he will still be at the club next season. My reason being is he was only purchased last season and very few clubs would be interested in signing him. He does add experience and depth to the squad and has a chance of improving.

Verdict: Sell but won't happen

Eric Lichaj: Eric has been superb the second half of the season. He's been the best, and most consistent performing defender all season and has a bright future ahead of him. He has done well against some of the best defenders in the league due to his decent pace and smart play. He's also American, which is cool. :-)

Verdict: Keep

Stephen Warnock: Warnock is a player who receives alot more criticism than he deserves. Statistically, he has been our best defender all season. Winning more headers than anyone on the team, which is quite an achievement considering the height of Dunne and Collins. He's also had the most appearances of anyone on the team which is a testament to his toughness is terms of injury. Also, I just like Stephen Warnock. He works very hard almost every game and despite making a few costly mistakes in the early part of the season, he has been very solid at left back. At 28 he has a good amount of years left and I hope to see him in years to come.

Verdict: Keep

Ciaran Clark: Here's a lad who hasn't been given nearly as many first-team starts as he's deserved. Ciaran is still very young and I see him attracting alot of attention during the summer. Geovanni Trapatonni made a mistake not including him in Ireland's squad this summer and I think he'll regret that decision later on.

Verdict: Keep

King Carlos: Shame to see him leaving as he was also a very consistent defender when called upon. Deserved more playing time earlier in the season. Can see why we didn't resign him however as I'm sure his wages were quite high.

Nathan Baker: Baker is an interesting topic. He had some good performances under Houllier last season but has been short of form in his recent appearances under McLeish. It could be that players just do bad in general under McLeish, but if Baker's form doesn't improve this preseason he needs to be sent on loan or sold. There's no use wasting time and money on an academy player that will never develop to the proper level.

Verdict: Send on loan, see what happens

Shay Given: Nothing needs to be said really, pure quality

Verdict: Keeper....ha

Brad Guzan: Showed some real quality in the games where he had to step up in Given's place. Just a real shame were so unlikely to keep him. Love having a good Villa showing in the U.S. team.

Verdict: Wish we could keep him...:(

Hope you found this a thoroughly entertaining addition to an already fantastic couple of news days. Comment below with your own opinions and let me know what you think of mine.




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The Journalist

Writer: C. Bick  Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday May 15 2012

Time: 3:19PM

Your Comments

cheers for that Mr B... very nicely done!
The Fear
keep warnock? no thanks - never forgiven him for that fantastic own goal against QPR.
villa4life87
Good read...might not 100% agree with everything but one I TOTALLY disagree with is Nathan Baker..MUST KEEP IMO..All about opinions though
krfeskivilla
Also I would definitely keep Darren Bent..No money can replace him..Build a team to his strengths and you have a guaranteed 20 goal a season man..not easy to come by..now we have one..KEEP HIM
krfeskivilla
Don't think we'd get 5m for Makoun, or get anything for Delfonso. Unless something dramatic happens over the summer Benty will be gone - just pray he has a good Euros, so we get the going rate. He made it very clear that he came for the service from Ashley and Downing; with those 2 gone and no equivalent replacements in sight, why would he want to stay? His lack of commitment in the last few weeks, while saving himself for Ukraine/Poland tells, me he's not up for a fight.
onlyteaminthemids
Would keep Herd as well - ideal squad player.
onlyteaminthemids
Good job it's only a case of personal opinion. Mine would be similar, BUT, Sell Gabby, not good enough. Bannan, too lightweight, pushed off the ball too much,good pass, but thats not enough. Delph, not good enough and injured most of the time. Hutton, say no more. Keep Bent and Herd.
Pride of Lions
Delfouneso ... 23 years old? We can get around 5M for Dunne? AND his transfer fee was 10M? I've stopped reading now. Delfouneso is 21 years old, Dunne cost us 5M (and arrived in 2009, not 2008). No way will we get our 5M back, we'll be lucky to get 2M! A good effort, but if you're going to do an evaluation of our entrie squad, could you please make sure that your facts are actually .... correct?
astvil123
Nathan Baker is my newest bestest ever friend after I met him at Spurs game, so he must stay and it is now Vital Law that he is our bestest player. OK?
The Fear
Keep Stephen Warnock? Did McLeish right this? LOL
astvil123
*write
astvil123
The first thing any new manager will need is a minimum of two experienced NATURAL CENTRAL midfield players...We will need a back up Keeper (send Siegrist out on loan)..Sadly Hutton will stay, so okay at R/B with him BACK UP to Lichaj..Need to replace Warnock at L/B with Stevens as back up(like the look of him)..Either Dunne or Collins to go (prefer latter) and to be replaced hopefully with quality leaving Clark, Baker and Williams as back up in centre defence..Wide areas Albrighton (give the kid a break- if played properly he can be very good IMO), N'Zogbia and Holman (don't forget him!)..up front Bent, Agbonlahor, Wiemann and Delfonseau (last chance- probably loan at first) PLUS one good striker who is comfortable with his BACK TO GOAL as an option...That's leaves the main problem area..CENTRAL MIDFIELD...Gardner, Herd, Carruthers, Delph, Bannan all fine for back up (although I believe by the end of the season Gardner could be a regular).Sadly Stan isn't going to play, so I believe we have Ireland, Makoun and TWO others...The ONLY positives of this season is that we now know a lot of the kids are good enough to be adequate squad players if not yet the 'real deal' (althiugh I believe several could be) and also there are a lot more on the production line
krfeskivilla
Heskey, Cuellar and Guzan are gone already...Isn't Petrov sadly retired aswell now. I'd sell: Dunne, Collins, Hutton, Warnock and Agbonlahor. Risky yes but if we can afford a clear out and to bring enough faces in do it.
P.Avfc
sorry fear but Baker will never make it. i also stopped reading when Gabby was described as absolutely deadly upfront, what a complete waste of time he has turned out to be. he has never been prolific or deadly under any manager, he is a road runner with no brains, sell, sell, sell
madforit
Sell Delfonso,Bannan,Makoun,Delph,Dunne, give away Hutton gone already or going Heskey,Cuellar,Guzan Gabby will do better under another manager and keep the rest. like to see more of Carruthers maybe as a sub next season.
Merlin128777
The Fonz is actually only 21 so still has a chance to make it. That said, I don't think he will and would sell him.
Villan Of The North
Really surprised about the negative comments on Nathan Baker.
krfeskivilla
Warnock is also 30, 31 this year. He did seem to cut out the stupid tackles in dangerous areas of the pitch but that may be as he was playing in midfield.
Ams78
Sell Fonz (just not stepping up), Dunne (slow and loves scoring own goals), Collins (trouble maker), Warnock (trouble maker and loves passing to players on the other side) and if we can't sell Mutton (thug), give him away! Makoun was good from what I saw of him and a crisp, creative passer - no wonder stupid 'Eck didn't like him. I think we need 6-8 high quality players though. Thank the lord 'Eck has gone as there won't be any more links to Horrid Henry, Basher Barton etc. The man was intent on turning us into Thugs 'R Us.
Windy Villain
Henry might be our next captain if the bookies are right with McCarthy at 11/8
madforit
In Gabby's defense, he was very prolific at the beginning of the season. I think it was something like 6 gols and at least 2 assists in 11 appearences? Not bad at all considering he was playing on the wing the whole time. The problems with Gabby reflected that of the entire squad. Poor results produced a severe lack of confidence with no manager who knew how to motivate them. Gabby can be excellent he just needs confidence and a manager who can lead him to greatness. Besides, just selling him wouldn't do much good as his wages are already low and we wouldn't get much for him. His pace and agility are unrivaled and he can be a huge asset to the team.
clbick3
Keep Herd and Baker! Definitely keep Bent if we can get NZogbia and Ireland on all cylnders next season we want Bent to be there to knock the goals in! Personally, if rumours are true and M'on wants to offer 12mill for Gabby I'd take that, but otherwise keep him.
Dumble
Not McCarthy! Backwards step again, Randy has to get this one right or it'll be over for him. Three strike and your out, right Yanks?
PhilK
I'd sell Hutton (of course), Delfouneso and Collins n maybe Delph!! and Id like to see Jean Makoun play alongside N'zogbia i reckon those 2 cud pull of some gorgeous football together, but thats my opinion!!
Gaz Random Hero
Wouldn't sell herd for two reasons. 1. As a defensive midfielder. He's not afraid to have a crack at goal. Scoring a beauty at lfc and some pretty good attempts through the season. 2. For his first full season in the first team under a garbage manager he's handled himself so well on the field. Image what a real manager could get out of him. On the discipline issue. Yes it was stupid but you can't go dismissing players because of it. He make it up.
Zarch
I'd keep Makoun, Bent and Herd, and wouldn't loan out Baker. I'd get rid of Warnock. And I agree with you on the rest.
callum_ws
happily see Dunne and Collins go - also Fonz and Hutton. Agree with Gaz Random Hero about Makoun/N'Zog together - could combine nicely.
leftfoot
I would keep Collins and sell Warnock. i would also keep Herd and see how he pans out next season. I would get rid of Delph also. Good article
kefkat
 

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