Do Aston Villa know what they're doing?

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Post by Art Morte Sat Jun 22, 2013 7:33 am

Like some here know, I rate Paul Lambert, let's get that out of the way.

But I've been watching what Aston Villa have been doing this off-season and it has raised my eyebrows.

They have signed five players pretty much for peanuts now, all of them aged between 20 and 23. (Luna from Sevilla, Helenius from Aalborg, Okore from Nordsjälland, Bakuna from Groningen and Tonev from Lech Poznan)

That seems incredibly daring for a club who only narrowly escaped relegation. Are they really finding Premier League quality for such small fees and from solely young players? They already had a young squad last season.

If they manage to improve their squad with these signings and remain in the Premier League next season, too, it will be a great achievement by the club, but they really seem to be taking a high risk approach to their squad building.
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Post by Red Alert Sat Jun 22, 2013 7:39 am

Lambert :bow:

Think they're just going for depth at the moment mate. They had a pretty thin squad last year, as well as a young side. The window isn't open as of yet. I'm sure they're still waiting to see what would happen with Benteke as well before they start doing real business in the window.
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Post by McAgger Sat Jun 22, 2013 7:43 am

Okore is a very talented footballer. I think he'll be a revelation. Villa are going about the transfers the right way. They'll definitely strike gold somewhere if they keep buying cheap and young like they're doing specially from leagues that aren't that well known.
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Post by ExtremistEnigma Sat Jun 22, 2013 10:13 am

Art Morte wrote:Like some here know, I rate Paul Lambert, let's get that out of the way.

But I've been watching what Aston Villa have been doing this off-season and it has raised my eyebrows.

They have signed five players pretty much for peanuts now, all of them aged between 20 and 23. (Luna from Sevilla, Helenius from Aalborg, Okore from Nordsjälland, Bakuna from Groningen and Tonev from Lech Poznan)

That seems incredibly daring for a club who only narrowly escaped relegation. Are they really finding Premier League quality for such small fees and from solely young players? They already had a young squad last season.

If they manage to improve their squad with these signings and remain in the Premier League next season, too, it will be a great achievement by the club, but they really seem to be taking a high risk approach to their squad building.
I agree with you mate.. buying young players because they come cheap and offer great resale value only works in video games. In real life, that doesn't work.

They'll face a tough time again if they don't buy any experienced players in this window.

That's why Martin O'Neill resigned.. he didn't like where the club was heading to. And he was right.
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Post by Grooverider Sat Jun 22, 2013 11:59 am

ExtremistEnigma wrote:
Art Morte wrote:Like some here know, I rate Paul Lambert, let's get that out of the way.

But I've been watching what Aston Villa have been doing this off-season and it has raised my eyebrows.

They have signed five players pretty much for peanuts now, all of them aged between 20 and 23. (Luna from Sevilla, Helenius from Aalborg, Okore from Nordsjälland, Bakuna from Groningen and Tonev from Lech Poznan)

That seems incredibly daring for a club who only narrowly escaped relegation. Are they really finding Premier League quality for such small fees and from solely young players? They already had a young squad last season.

If they manage to improve their squad with these signings and remain in the Premier League next season, too, it will be a great achievement by the club, but they really seem to be taking a high risk approach to their squad building.
I agree with you mate.. buying young players because they come cheap and offer great resale value only works in video games. In real life, that doesn't work.

They'll face a tough time again if they don't buy any experienced players in this window.

That's why Martin O'Neill resigned.. he didn't like where the club was heading to. And he was right.

Porto ??
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Post by Art Morte Sat Jun 22, 2013 12:50 pm

Yeah, I think buying young players to sell them on later for profit can work, like with Porto or Ajax (although it is hit & miss), but those are clubs who are already strong in their domestic leagues. Aston Villa were relegation candidates last season and surely they need to strengthen their team straight away.

Ynwa saying above there that they're going for depth at the moment, but if your first XI isn't good enough, surely you should sign quality first and depth after that? Right now there's nothing indicating that they're looking to sign some higher calibre players, but yeah, there's plenty of time for that to happen, we'll see.
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Post by Kick Sat Jun 22, 2013 1:11 pm

Grooverider wrote:
ExtremistEnigma wrote:
Art Morte wrote:Like some here know, I rate Paul Lambert, let's get that out of the way.

But I've been watching what Aston Villa have been doing this off-season and it has raised my eyebrows.

They have signed five players pretty much for peanuts now, all of them aged between 20 and 23. (Luna from Sevilla, Helenius from Aalborg, Okore from Nordsjälland, Bakuna from Groningen and Tonev from Lech Poznan)

That seems incredibly daring for a club who only narrowly escaped relegation. Are they really finding Premier League quality for such small fees and from solely young players? They already had a young squad last season.

If they manage to improve their squad with these signings and remain in the Premier League next season, too, it will be a great achievement by the club, but they really seem to be taking a high risk approach to their squad building.
I agree with you mate.. buying young players because they come cheap and offer great resale value only works in video games. In real life, that doesn't work.

They'll face a tough time again if they don't buy any experienced players in this window.

That's why Martin O'Neill resigned.. he didn't like where the club was heading to. And he was right.

Porto ??

Porto can do what they do because of their position in the league and the strength of their league, they can afford to play unknown players because if they fail, it isn't a massive loss.

Villa are not like that, they are struggling in a very competitive league and need quality to remain in it.

As for villa, they have to get rid of the deadweights before they can bring in quality, but I am not sure I agree with what they're doing. If Beneteke fails I feel Aston Villa could get relegated, thats if they can even keep him.
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Post by Great Leader Sprucenuce Sat Jun 22, 2013 1:27 pm

The way Villa ended the season i don't think they will be anywhere near relegation next season regardless of what these signings do.

I'm looking at top 10 for them, i haven't heard of many of the signings but Okore is legit.
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Post by Kick Sat Jun 22, 2013 1:42 pm

Great Leader Sprucenuce wrote:The way Villa ended the season i don't think they will be anywhere near relegation next season regardless of what these signings do.

I'm looking at top 10 for them, i haven't heard of many of the signings but Okore is legit.

They won't finish top 10. United, City, Chelsea, Arsenal, Spurs, Everton, Liverpool, Swansea, WBA and possibly Southhampton will finish above them. I also think Newcastle and Norwich have better squads too.
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Post by Great Leader Sprucenuce Sat Jun 22, 2013 1:47 pm

We have a better squad than WBA, Swansea, Southampton and Norwich.... they will all finish above us though.

Stand by what i said, don't find WBA very impressive and Southampton are not better than Villa.
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Post by ExtremistEnigma Sat Jun 22, 2013 1:57 pm

Grooverider wrote:Porto ??
The thing with Porto is different. As said before, they already have a strong foothold that too in a weaker league, having won the league 8 times in the past decade. It's not like they buy young players everytime, they just buy the unknowns. And their scouting system is pretty damn good, so they can afford it. Last season, the team's backbone was Fernando, Lucho Gonzalez, Moutinho; all established and considerably experienced players.

If you look at Aston Villa, that's not the case. They hardly have any players older than 23+ who are good enough. The team has no backbone. If your first team is not good enough, and you're signing young nobodies, then that's not really helpful, is it?

They have already signed five players by now.. I don't think they'll be signing more than a couple now. They might not get relegated because they have a talented manager, but they'll still struggle a lot.
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Post by ExtremistEnigma Sat Jun 22, 2013 2:07 pm

There are so many teams on paper that are going to be better than them this season.

All teams except the newly promoted ones have better squads than them. Stoke City have a decent squad but they have an unbelievably incapable manager. Swansea also have Europe under their belt this time around and they will be undergoing the second season syndrome under Laudrup.

So yeah, those are the only five teams that I see might possibly finish under Aston Villa this season.
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Post by donttreadonred Sat Jun 22, 2013 2:50 pm

I believe Villa are attempting to walk a tightrope in the way they have approached transfers since Paul Lambert was appointed. They seem to be looking for very young players with talent, who have yet to really tap into their potential. Effectively, they are buying players who aren't good enough now in the hope/belief that Lambert and the coaching staff can unlock their talents or coach them into production. Almost all "big" clubs do this. However, they do it on a much smaller scale, purchasing one or two players and hoping to develop them in the reserves or using them as squad players until they're ready to slot into the first team. I personally can't decide if it's naivete or hubris that leads them to believe they can do it with practically the entire first XI.

The risk is obvious, and the worst-case scenario very nearly happened last season. They very nearly went down. It was really thanks to one inspired signing that the club didn't go down. Benteke was Lambert's only raging success story from 2012-13. (I'm sure the possibility that Benteke could leave for any number of interested Premier League clubs will keep Lambert up countless nights this summer.) Should he move on, Villa will either need to strike gold again in the transfer market or hope another one of their inexperienced lot of youngsters makes the step up to stardom.

I can't help but worry for Villa, as it seems like such a long-shot for this project to truly work. The approach is sound in theory, but it depends on finding at least one diamond in the rough each season, and the manager playing a blinder week in, week out. The goal is of course for these youngsters to begin coming good on their potential, performing more consistently on a weekly basis. As anyone who has followed the young talents at their own club knows, player progression is not necessarily linear, nor do they always make good on their potential. Sometimes what you see really is all you're going to get from them. Aston Villa may learn this the hard way, if they can't bring in some experience to help their youngsters along. Moreover, should their talisman leave for greener pastures, I simply don't have faith in Lamberts ability to coach them to safety on his own.
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Post by Freeza Sat Jun 22, 2013 3:04 pm

Okore is a legit star CB in the making, and Helenius had a great season for a mediocre team in Denmark. Hopefully this will be a step in the right direction for our NT since a lot of our starters don't get significant minutes in their clubs. Hopefully Okore will drive Simon Kjær far away from the national team, since he isn't even a top 10 CB in Denmark.
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Post by Swanhends Sat Jun 22, 2013 7:05 pm

get in there paul you beauty
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Post by I Have Mono Sat Jun 22, 2013 8:17 pm

Even if they do get relegated, then they have a bunch of youngsters with high potential and low wages and won't need to sell their entire team ala QPR so is it really a problem ?

Also wasn't Vlaar hurt for much of the season so he will be back for a full season ?
All their youngsters now have a full season of premier league play under them Benteke, Wiemann, Lowton, Clark, etc...

Vlaar and Guzan are both 29 and arguably their 2 best players, they need maybe a veteran CB to back up Vlaar if he gets injured again and to help guide their younger players and a solid CM, but I like what they are doing.

I think someone like Scott Parker whose best years are behind him, but is still a solid player and Veteran would be a good signing for them, and a CB like bocanegra ( someone better though ) as long as they're on the right wages.

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Post by schrutebucks Sat Jun 22, 2013 9:50 pm

Can't say I agree with some of the posts here; Matthew Lowton and Ashley Westwood didn't prove themselves quite adeptly enough last season for some?

Love Aston Villa's project; putting a hungry dire wolf to the wage bill and bringing in young talent. Word.
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Post by RealGunner Sat Jun 22, 2013 9:56 pm

Lowton had a pretty poor start but he improved towards the end. Think RB is his to lose for now. Westwood has potential but a long way to go.
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Post by SUPERCARTTS Sat Jun 22, 2013 10:50 pm

Couldn't agree more, Art. I said something similar regarding Newcastle around January time; Sprucenuce didn't take kindly to my criticism of their french-revolution and even compared it to when Wenger was splurging out on french players, some years ago - in the sense that there, presumably, wasn't anything wrong with what Wenger done and what Pardew was doing.

Back to Villa, if they think they're going to genuinely improve on their 2012/13 season, they've got another thing coming.
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Post by donttreadonred Sat Jun 22, 2013 11:13 pm

schrutebucks wrote:Can't say I agree with some of the posts here; Matthew Lowton and Ashley Westwood didn't prove themselves quite adeptly enough last season for some?

Love Aston Villa's project; putting a hungry dire wolf to the wage bill and bringing in young talent. Word.
The fact that Westwood and Lowton are the main success stories should really make my point for me. They both look like being solid Premier League players in the next few years. However, they're both still somewhat inconsistent, and neither are regularly in positions to get you points.

On an individual level, that's not bad. (Though, you could arguably want more from them as they're not the youngest players out there: Lowton is 24 and Westwood is 23. They may still develop, but they're not miles from the finished product.) However, if they are the success stories, then Villa had best get used to the bottom half of the table.

Case in point: Would you want to rely on these two in the middle of a relegation fight?
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Post by Great Leader Sprucenuce Sat Jun 22, 2013 11:19 pm

SUPERCARTTS wrote:Couldn't agree more, Art. I said something similar regarding Newcastle around January time; Sprucenuce didn't take kindly to my criticism of their french-revolution and even compared it to when Wenger was splurging out on french players, some years ago - in the sense that there, presumably, wasn't anything wrong with what Wenger done and what Pardew was doing.

Back to Villa, if they think they're going to genuinely improve on their 2012/13 season, they've got another thing coming.

Tbf i did vastly underestimate how much of a buffoon Pardew is, i still stand by that with a good manager we would have got a lot more wins than we did.
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Post by schrutebucks Sun Jun 23, 2013 12:42 am

donttreadonred wrote:Case in point: Would you want to rely on these two in the middle of a relegation fight?
Seeing as they were in a relegation fight two months ago and both came up huge for Villa, I'd say that yes would be my answer.

I'm obviously not proclaiming them as wonderkid cornerstones for Villa to build around, just to clarify, just extremely intelligent, cheap, successful signings by the club.
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Post by Art Morte Sun Jun 23, 2013 7:11 am

I Have Mono wrote:Even if they do get relegated, then they have a bunch of youngsters with high potential and low wages and won't need to sell their entire team ala QPR so is it really a problem ?

I thought about that, too, and although it is a positive, it's still a problem because you make so much more money in the Premier League than in the Championship. I think it would be safer for Villa to spend a bit more now than work on a tight budget, thinking "if they don't keep us up next season, they will get us promoted the season after that".
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Post by I Have Mono Sun Jun 23, 2013 7:57 am

Art Morte wrote:
I Have Mono wrote:Even if they do get relegated, then they have a bunch of youngsters with high potential and low wages and won't need to sell their entire team ala QPR so is it really a problem ?

I thought about that, too, and although it is a positive, it's still a problem because you make so much more money in the Premier League than in the Championship. I think it would be safer for Villa to spend a bit more now than work on a tight budget, thinking "if they don't keep us up next season, they will get us promoted the season after that".

I don't think you can say definitively that one way or the other is the correct way, it's just opinion whether you would rather have a little bit more competitive squad where you know how good everyone is and no one will have a breakout season, and if relegated would lead to a big turnover and a small chance to be repromoted anytime soon due to the players and chemistry lost vs a young team that may be relegated but will be able to be held together through relegation.

I'd rather have a bunch of high potential cheap youngsters who may blossom or flop than bottom 5 players who just move from relegation candidate to relegation Candidate but manage to stay in the PL somehow.

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Post by donttreadonred Sun Jun 23, 2013 2:23 pm

schrutebucks wrote:
donttreadonred wrote:Case in point: Would you want to rely on these two in the middle of a relegation fight?
Seeing as they were in a relegation fight two months ago and both came up huge for Villa, I'd say that yes would be my answer.

I'm obviously not proclaiming them as wonderkid cornerstones for Villa to build around, just to clarify, just extremely intelligent, cheap, successful signings by the club.
They did perform well, but to say they're the reason they stayed up... :hmm:That argument is dubious at best.

Villa stayed up because of their results in weeks 32, 33, 35, and 36 (Stoke away, Fulham home, Sunderland home, Norwich away). In those 4 games, Agbonlahor and Benteke came up big with 4 goals apiece. Now, it would be naive to suggest that goals are the only contributing factor to a successful relegation fight, but they certainly don't hurt. 8 goals from two players sounds pretty darned influential to me. They are the two players I want to rely on in such a situation.

I get that these two aren't meant to "save the world", and I agree that they are both intelligent and frugal signings. However, Villa had turnover all over the pitch, and they are only buying young, under-valued players from lower leagues. In that situation, it seems the reasonable expectation for continued success would be a few "Lowton's" and "Westwood's" and a raft of other players that take longer to, or maybe never,  make the jump to that level. Is that really good enough? I know what my answer would be.

As for the “promotion is a positive” argument, I simply can’t see that. I personally believe it would set Lambert’s project back at least a season, making it all the more likely they would not make it up the first year and creating more and more difficulty each season they failed to make the jump.  Should Villa get relegated, you had best believe other Premier League clubs would come in for the talent remaining in Villa’s team. The young players that made the jump to Premier League level will be targeted, leaving only the unsuccessful cases. Sure, they could still come good, but they will have to go out and bring in another crop of youngsters to just below the level of quality they actually need. In this situation you’re relying on the palyers that didn’t really cut it in the Premier League, hoping they make the jump, and then filling out the squad with a brand new group of talent (remember this is a group that is willing to come to a championship club). This does not seem like a good situation to me. I hardly think Villa would pop back up as West Ham and Newcastle did. Because of this, I believe Benteke may have saved Aston Villa several seasons of embarrassment in the Championship.
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