Tag Archives: Aston Villa

Adebayor signing personifies 2016 January window

Adebayor was a symptom of the window, he was simply the easiest person to do business this January.  Source: Sky Sports

Adebayor was a symptom of the window, he was simply the easiest person to do business this January. Source: Sky Sports

Last night, Crystal Palace announced the signing of former Arsenal, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur striker Emmanuel Adebayor until the end of the season. The move raised a few eyebrows, the Togolese international known for his fleeting successes and tendency to peter out, but this deal is the epitome of the winter window this season.

No one wants to play ball.

It’s highlighted by some of the moves this summer, with some only really coming to fruition because they had to. Charlie Austin joined Southampton for £4m because he had just six months to run on his contract QPR, the same reason Leeds United allowed Sam Byram to join West Ham United.

With so much pressure on teams to stay in the division, they are trying their best to find deals but finding anyone domestically has been a real drag.

Austin was a great signing but forced by his contract situation.  Source: The Express

Austin was a great signing but forced by his contract situation. Source: The Express

Players like Loic Remy, desperate to play some first-team football ahead of Euro 2016 has been forced to stay at Chelsea. That may change for him now it looks like Alexandre Pato is joining the club on loan, but that leaves clubs just a few days to fight for his signature.

Clubs like Sunderland and Aston Villa are wandering aimlessly in their search for reinforcements but can’t find what they need. Other teams won’t sell them the quality they need as most still need it themselves, anyone who they can get then either is hesitent about joining a relegation side on a permanent basis or simply not a step-up to what they’ve already got.

Even those surplus to requirements have simply been bumped up in price. Jonjo Shelvey and Andros Townsend have both joined Newcastle United and while they do have quality, they were deemed as not needed by other clubs yet still cost £12m each.

Those astronomical prices and the unwillingness to sell has teams looking abroad, where they can be more likely to allow players to leave. But even then, some drive a hard bargain and the likelyhood that any should meet the expectation to make an immediate impact for those clubs in need is a little farfetched to say the least.

Shelvey was a solid signing, but £12m still seems a lpt.  Source: The Guardian

Shelvey was a solid signing, but £12m still seems a lpt. Source: The Guardian

All that leads to why the Adebayor deal makes sense. He’s a free agent, you don’t need to negotiate with any club and the only thing that stalled a deal was to get Spurs to pay a percentage of what they still owe him to see it through.

Seeing as the Palace strikeforce has scored just once all season, it shouldn’t be too hard for him to be at least a minor success. He’ll be gone at the end of the season, unless he really impresses and brings his wage demands down, and Alan Pardew will look to reinforce with a better option in the much less restrictive summer window.

There have been calls in the past to end this window because of what it can do to smaller clubs. What has been evident this time around is that it’s affected everyone, dominoes have failed to fall and therefore clubs have been stuck in a rut with nowhere to go.

Again, especially in the Premier League, this may change when the new money comes in next year and teams just spend willy-nilly. However, should this happen again next season, it could actually be the beginning of the end for the January winter window.

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When is the perfect time to sack a manager?

Benitez never had his feet under the desk.  Source: Bleacher Report

Benitez never had his feet under the desk. Source: Bleacher Report

With the sacking of Rafa Benitez yesterday, it seems like there is no better time to look at when it is the right time to dismiss a manager of a football club.

For starters, it should be a difficult decision not done on a whim. Several disappointing results can sting but things can change dramatically in two months’ time and snap decisions have more often than not had pretty dire consequences.

At the same time, when problems arise that may not be fixable, you cannot fear pulling the trigger when change is needed. Even if it’s not seen on the outside or there is an opportunity to get someone better, clubs shouldn’t fear in making a short-term negative decision for a long-term gain.

In the case of Benitez at Real Madrid, it seemed like a marriage doomed to fail from the start. Taking over from a hugely popular coach in Carlo Ancelotti and seen as a poor choice by the fans, the former Liverpool boss was always walking on a tightrope from the minute he walked through the door.

He didn’t seem to have full control of the team, his style clashed with the players at his disposal and people called for his head at the first sign of trouble. Now, with no more options available, Zinedine Zidane takes control much sooner than expected and is thrown right into the deep end.

Van Gaal is on thin ice but if he turns things around, other clubs should take notice.  Source: The Telegraph

Van Gaal is on thin ice but if he turns things around, other clubs should take notice. Source: The Telegraph

Timing a firing can be so difficult, when the pressure to get results is high but the space to bring in new ideas that can work so limited. Without a break like the rest of Europe, where it seems like a logical time to change things, managers have to simplify things before gradually adding their own spin, which takes too much time.

Take a look at Chelsea sacking Jose Mourinho, who had clearly lost the effort of his team and could not find a way to fix things but was then sacked just before the hectic Christmas period. Whether it was right or wrong, Guus Hiddink had little time to fix things and only now does it seem like they are clicking into gear under the Dutchman.

The one to watch will be the rest of Louis van Gaal’s reign at Manchester United, when many other managers would have been dismissed immediately after a fourth loss and a dismal display against Norwich City on Boxing Day.

They may have picked up a few points since then and could be back on the up, if he recovers and creates any kind of success this season or even possibly next season, it may show that sticking by someone might be the best option.

Short-sightedness tends to come with those at the bottom, as we have seen with constant Sunderland managers over the past few years but without a plan in place, teams sink. Newcastle almost fell after not having a plan after Alan Pardew and Norwich took too long to swing the axe on Chris Hughton a few years ago, giving the job to a man who brought them down and was sacked six months later.

Sherwood is prime example of a team rushing a decision without a plan.  Source: The Telegraph

Sherwood is prime example of a team rushing a decision without a plan. Source: The Telegraph

Another example of that poor forward-thinking was the hiring of Tim Sherwood, an unproven manager that ended up saving Aston Villa on the virtue that other teams were worse. He then had a pretty poor summer, the team was not tactically prepared and now Remi Garde is running around in January to fix all the problems he created.

Some sackings felt needless, such as when Mauricio Pochettino took over at Southampton or when Quique Sanchez Flores became the Watford manager, but both have shown why that decision was made. They both had plans, they have a tactical nous that brings the team an identity they can follow and in the long run, both have worked very well.

In the end, long-term ideals need to take much more of a prominent standpoint over possible short-sighted advantages. Bringing someone in to save the club does not mean that same man can take you forward, therefore the thinking has to be that he can deliver for many years rather than for just this season, as it usually leaves a club in a mess.

There may never be the “right” time to sack a manager. The off-season would be much easier, much like in other sports, but with the risk of relegation or not succeeding so high, owners feel compelled to do something as soon as they spot a problem.

What needs to happen is for them to get it right in the first place, a man who will add structure to the entire organisation and build rather than a fire-fighter because, in the long run, that short-term thinking always lands clubs in trouble.

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Fabian Delph showing money isn’t everything

This photo would have look rather silly had he moved to Manchester City.  Source: Aston Villa Club Website

This photo would have look rather silly had he moved to Manchester City. Source: Aston Villa Club Website

In an almost unprecedented move, Fabian Delph rejected the advances of Manchester City this week to remain at Aston Villa. That’s despite the two-time Premier League champions matching his buyout clause and offering a bumper contract, Delph stays to play regular football with the team he’s grown with.

At the initial news that he was due to have a medical with the Sky Blues, even I started thinking about the same old cliches about others that have made similar moves to the same club. Jack Rodwell, Scott Sinclair, Adam Johnson and to some extent James Milner all moved to the Etihad believing that it would be a big step in their careers as first-team starters and national team main-stays.

However, it never really worked out for any of them as they might have hoped.

Scott Sinclair would have helped, he also suffered from a poorly advised move.  Source: Birmingham Mail

Scott Sinclair would have helped, he also suffered from a poorly advised move. Source: Birmingham Mail

Rodwell and Sinclair never really broke into the side, Johnson was always going to be an impact player and whilst Milner had the most success, he was the most frustrated after performing well yet still not earning a regular spot in the starting eleven. All have now moved on and while it’s also clear that some have never reached the heights expected, most of them had their careers stunted at Manchester City.

That is not to say that this article is just to attack the methods of the blue side of Manchester, other than Milner there weren’t signs that the others were quite at the level required at the club. The rules on home-grown talent also force Manchester City into a corner, buying English players for the sake of filling quotas and depriving other teams of good starters or even key players.

They are also caught in a middle ground between their recent success and their own academy catching up to them. Having to pay a premium for strong English talent, like they have with Raheem Sterling, is their only real way to move forward with the home-grown status whilst they wait for their impressive academy to produce quality products.

Delph will hope that regular first-team action will boost his Euro 2016 hopes.  Source: Aston Villa Club Website

Delph will hope that regular first-team action will boost his Euro 2016 hopes. Source: Aston Villa Club Website

That being said, it was still very tough for Delph to not only turn down the money and potential silverware but also admit to himself that at his current level, he won’t be getting the game time that he needs. It’s sometimes difficult for a player to remove themselves like that and have real foresight, especially an international and it’s incredibly refreshing.

He’s staying loyal to Villa and it’s great to see, many other young English players should follow his example. Get reassurances at your new club that you’ll be played, stay that year longer to grow in a smaller side and then allow your progression when you feel necessary.

It’s moves like this that will improve the quality of the national side in the future, rather than harshly sticking to rules that don’t end up benefiting anyone.

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