You know things must be bad at Aston Villa when they are no longer referred to as the ‘bottom club’, instead moving to ‘rock bottom’ territory with each passing game. However, those in the Midlands will not give hope just yet. There has been an improvement under Remi Garde, but ever so slightly.
They have earned points away at Southampton, never an easy task, as well as stopping Newcastle after they had beaten both Spurs and Liverpool. While it’s barely the stuff of legend, it’s scary to think where the Villa Park outfit had they lost both games.
The manner of the performance in the closing stages of the recent draw at St. James’ Park was also encouraging. After Jordan Ayew had levelled proceedings with a stunning effort, the visitors laid siege to the Toon’s goal and at least showed the players are up for a fight.
Though history is against them, it’s not over until it’s over at Villa Park. Perhaps the January window can present the chance to land some additions for Garde, to properly implement his philosophy into the club.
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Though it’s looking increasingly unlikely that Charlie Austin will leave Loftus Road before the summer, Villa should at least test the waters. Desperate times call for desperate measures.
Though Ayew and Scott Sinclair offer pace and the ability to run in behind defences, only Rudy Gestede offers a traditional centre-forward role at Villa Park. What the club need now are goalscorers, someone to hold the ball up and provide an effective outlet the defence in under siege.
Loic Remy joined QPR in the midst of their relegation battle and has since gone on to play for the likes of Newcastle and Chelsea, a move to the Midlands would not be wholly damaging to Austin in the long run.
It’s not ideal, but the former Burnley man is proven in the Premier League and Villa need all the help they can get.
With Jordan Amavi ruled out for the rest of the season, Garde is reportedly looking to strengthen at left-back. Despite his age, Ashley Cole would represent a major coup for a club battling relegation.
The 34-year old may be out in the cold in the Italian capital, but has a wealth of experience in the top flight and remained a class act (playing wise) up until his last days at Chelsea. One of the best defenders in Premier League history, his wise head could help some of the nervy young foreign imports when the going gets tough.
A short-term deal would be excellent business for the club.
Despite Joel Campbell’s recent run in the Arsenal side, key players returning and the opening of the January transfer window is likely to put an end to his frequent outings. That is not to say the Costa Rican hasn’t done himself any justice, but with the Gunners fighting for the title, Alexis Sanchez will surely soon return for duty.
If Villa can land him on loan, the 23-year old attacker would add some much needed quality in the final third. An ambitious move no doubt, but perhaps the sort of gamble necessary to take when faced with the daunting prospect with being cut adrift so early on in the season.
Steven Naismith is a favourite at Goodison Park, but that hasn’t helped the Scot much in the way of landing first-team opportunities in recent months. As a result, he’s again been linked with a move away from Merseyside, with Villa said to be keen.
The 29-year old Scotland international would provide a link between the obvious creative quality in midfield and the struggling attack. There are some good technical players in the engine room, though the strikers often look isolated.
Should Naismith arrive next month, Garde could see far more service to his frontline, with the Scotsman also chipping in with a few goals himself.
Former Manchester United legend Nemanja Vidic is reportedly on the radar heading into the New Year, with the solid Serbian centre-back on the verge of having his contract at the San Siro terminated.
Though his Old Trafford career somewhat fizzled out, the 34-year old is simply one of the best ever defenders to have played in the Premier League. Like Ashley Cole, securing the Red Devils legend on a short-term deal should help add some tactical nous to a backline that have occasionally looked bereft of ideas.