Aston Villa are close to finalising Charles N’Zogbia’s transfer from Wigan, with Alex McLeish backing the winger to star at Villa Park.The two English Premier League clubs are believed to have agreed a fee of 9.5 million pounds for N’Zogbia.
The Frenchman, who joined Wigan from Newcastle in January 2009, played a key role in keeping Wigan in the top flight last season.
And McLeish believes the 25-year-old is the ideal replacement for Stewart Downing and Ashley Young, who were sold to Liverpool and Manchester United respectively in the off season.
“We believe everything else is just about there (on the N’Zogbia deal),” McLeish said.
“Charles will be a great addition to the squad. He’s an explosive player and he gives us an extra bit of quality that replaces one or two of the guys who have left the club.”
“You’ve seen his exploits last season – especially at the tail-end of the campaign when he scored five or six goals in the last few games which were extremely important for Wigan to stay in the league.”
“He’s an explosive type of player who can play in positions across the front. We needed to replace Downing with similar quality.”
McLeish, who resigned as Birmingham City manager to take over at cross-city rivals Villa in June, is also looking to reinvigorate some of last season’s forgotten men, including Stephen Ireland and Stephen Warnock.
“There’s also a lot of talent,” he said. “We will look for one or two players who have been a little bit dormant, in whom Villa have made a massive investment.”
“A couple of years ago, he (Ireland) looked an amazing player, he was making runs from midfield, getting in the box, scoring goals, picking out the right passes. Every ball he touched turned to goals.”
“Again, as a manager, you have to try and get the best you can out of every individual. That’s what I’ll do.”
“Stephen Warnock, too, has to resurrect his career … He’s pushing himself now, though, and his enthusiasm is there. The fitness guys have actually had to try and rein him in.”