After Martin O’Neill’s shock departure from Aston Villa with James Milner to follow there may yet more implications thrust upon a quiet transfer market over the coming weeks as fears of an exodus begin to rear their ugly head at Villa Park.
Since arriving at the club in 2006, O’Neill has guided Villa to three consecutive top six finishes after building the team he felt were capable to do so and now that the former Leicester City boss has departed, a queue may form at the exit door.
Rumours that Ashley Young will head to the capital with Spurs are already beginning to intensify whilst Craven Cottage is being mooted as a possible destination for American goalkeeper Brad Friedel and ultimately the fears of seeing his squad crumble in front of his very eyes may have proved too much.
The indications that emanated from Villa Park with regard to O’Neill and owner Randy Lerner’s dwindling relationship refused to go away and the latest incitement into his exit lends itself to suggest cash-strapped owner Randy Lerner wanted to keep the fee for Milner in order to balance the books.
It comes at a bad time for Villa who start against West Ham in five days’ time, leaving Villa in disarray for the start of new campaign and the fans wondering where next?
There will be countless of names linked with the task of maintaining the work O’Neill did during his time at Villa, Sven-Goran-Eriksson, Bob Bradley and Martin Jol to name but a few just a day after his resignation but Villa really have lost one of the best managers around.
His tenure in the West Midlands has seen him linked with replacing Ferguson at Old Trafford and before now Benitez at Liverpool and another potential replacement for the Northern Irishmen would offer little consolation to the faithful who grew to adore him.
Anyone that arrives now would have to make a big impact but the question remains whether the funds would be there to do so.
Perhaps Lerner would prefer fellow countrymen Bob Bradley as the new manager who would be more suited to the ambassadorial approach that is being cited as one reason why O’Neill jumped ship as opposed to the likes of Jol and Billic who are more engaging and would demand control.
Martin Jol in particular would be adverse to policy that seems to have been installed after it was reported then director of football Damien Comolli selected the players Jol would purchase during his time White Hart Lane.
It is sure to be an interesting season for Villa who now face up to the grim reality of the last couple of days, a reality without Martin O’Neill.