Football FanCast guest columnist Greg Wyatt feels that Martin O'Neill should look to Wes Brown, to bring some needed experience to the Villa backline.
I wonder if I was the only Villa fan who shook their head in disbelief when it was announced that Stewart Downing had joined the club. This is not because I am one of those who chooses to jump on the bandwagon that continually writes off this particular footballer, as I do rate him, but why the club felt the need to bring in another winger when we have two of the best in Young and Milner it remains a mystery; especially as I was under the impression that funds were tight this summer.
Of course that is Villa for you and we are the only club who tends to make life harder for ourselves due to our lack of depth in important areas of the squad. You didn't have to be Einstein watching Villa last season to realise the areas that needed improving with a top quality centre half and forward a real priority. With Martin Laursen sadly retired, Gareth Barry gone to line his pockets at City and our misfiring frontline, O'Neill's rebuild of his squad is even greater this summer – we need at least six players as a bare minimum, if we want to avoid yet another horrendous collapse that we faced last year.
A strong commanding centre half has to be next on our hit list and why names like Distin have been muted, I would prefer we looked elsewhere. This no disrespect to the Frenchman, who is a solid defender, but he is the wrong side of 30 and watching him for Pompey in the second half of last season he seemed very much out of sorts and off the pace. Other players we have been linked with like Steven Taylor and Michael Dawson are certainly more appealing, but perhaps are at the opposite side of the spectrum in just lacking that bit of experience. The one player that I would go for is someone we should have brought to Villa years ago and I believe him to be one of the most underrated defenders in England and that is Wes Brown – an excellent versatile defender who never lets United down when called upon.
Brown is one of those players who could play for any other team in the country as a first team regular. Unfortunately his time at United in the past few years has been restricted due to the strong pairing of Vidic and Rio, but although I believe it will be a wrench to leave United I just wonder, with it being World Cup year, whether he would be tempted to take on a lead role elsewhere. He would bring us a wealth of experience, as he has won every trophy in the game and that will be invaluable to bring to a squad that hasn't really achieved anything between them. I'm not sure how much it will take to bring him to Villa Park, but I can't imagine we will have to break the bank, given that he is fast approaching 30yrs old. Whether United will be prepared to sell him remains to be seen, but it is surely worth a go.
Would Brown be a welcome addition at Villa Park or should Martin O'Neill look elsewhere?