Has Lerner Lost Interest?
My first attempt at an article having visited the site for years.
Be forewarned, it's a bit of a rant!
There seems to be a growing number of fans calling for Lerner to relinquish ownership of the club. His 'reluctance to spend' seems to be the main reason behind this opposition, though I'm still struggling to comprehend how such a conclusion has been drawn by so many of the club's supporters. Lerner has invested in the club, its players and its facilities substantially since he took control back in 2006. It seems that some aren't happy unless we bring in at least one £10million+ marquee player each window. Agreed, our average transfer spend has decreased in recent years but is the chairman tightening the purse strings or simply being more careful with his cash?
Lets look at our squad now compared with the squad we had at the end of MON's final season -arguably our most successful in recent years.
First up, goalkeepers. Brad Guzan and Andy Marshall featured in both squads, with Brad Friedel and Shay Given in the '09 and '12 squads respectively. Both Friedel and Guzan represent excellent purchases by O'Neill, rumoured to be around £3million for both in the summer of 2008. The former was inspired between the sticks and rallied performances out of an ever-changing back line, while we are still reaping the rewards of the latter. Given came in for a mooted £3million alone and after one season has fallen down the pecking order at the club. Despite playing a big part in keeping us up last season, could Guzan have done as good a job? £3million is a big outlay for 12 months of service and that's before taking wages into consideration. Arguably a poor purchase by an abysmal manager.
Right backs. Luke Young and Habib Beye were both brought in by MON at an estimated £5million and have since been sold for less than £1million (combined). When you consider that roughly £3million was spent on Alan Hutton and around the same on Matty Lowton the young lad looks far and away the best bit of business in that area, especially considering he probably commands the lowest wages of the four. Fine bit of business by Lambert, awful from MON and big 'Eck (again). Left backs. Warnock and Bennett. Both tend to look more like Championship players than top-flight defenders. The difference being that one of them is young enough to improve and cost about a third of the price.
In central defence Lambert's sole purchase has been Ron Vlaar. Injury plagued both past and present but a solid player and a Dutch international. £3-3.5million. Collins, Cuéllar and Curtis Davies. Bought in for a combined fee of around £22.5million, sold for a grand total of £2.5million. Yes, it's thought that Martin spent somewhere in the region of NINE MILLION POUNDS EACH on Cuéllar and Davies. Both left on free transfers.
I could go on...
The point I'm trying to make is that Lerner seems to be trying to steady the ship financially. When you look at clubs like Portsmouth and Rangers would you really like to see Villa in such a position? QPR have spent big and it hasn't done them any favours either. If the price is right I'm sure he will stump up the cash.
We've seen our transfer record smashed to bring in Darren Bent. He's gambled £7million on an unknown young Belgian striker. It wouldn't be surprising to see a seven-figure-sum spent on the next Ashley Young or James Milner - someone who could help take us places before being sold at a tidy profit. Just don't expect £8million to be spent on the likes of Nigel Reo-Coker for the sake of Premiership experience.
After all, wouldn't we all prefer a Michu over a Marlon Harewood?