The ideal £9m replacement for Aston Villa?

Former Newcastle winger Charles N’Zogbia has had a bit of a mixed career full of both the good and the bad, but with it looking increasingly likely that he will move onto pastures new this Summer I feel that he would be a quality signing for many teams in the Premier League.

N’Zogbia is only 25, meaning he has a lot of his career ahead of him. His performances were one of the biggest contributing factors to the survival of Wigan last season, he netted 10 goals which is not to be underestimated considering they came playing in a relatively weak side.

It would be wrong to ignore some of the negatives in the 25 year olds past, he had quite a difficult time towards the end of his spell with Newcastle and the famous ‘Charles Insomnia’ incident didn’t do a great deal for his reputation. There have been question marks over his attitude and his work ethic at various points, but to be fair to the player in the last few seasons these have dissipated somewhat.

He nearly moved to Birmingham last year only for him to fail to agree personal terms, it was reported at the time that the wage on offer did not meet his own expectations. In many ways he probably dodged a bullet, it is impossible to say whether the Midlands club would have been relegated with N’Zogbia but the facts remain that they are no longer a Premier League team and that wouldn’t have suited the Wigan player.

According to press reports, a few different clubs are interested in his signature and this could be to the benefit of Wigan should a bidding war present itself. It has been made apparent by the powers that be at the Lancashire club that they do expect to sell him this Summer and chairman Dave Whelan has supposedly now slapped a £9million price tag on the player.

I personally don’t think that figure is at all unreasonable, when you consider that Stewart Downing moved for a ludicrous £20million, the figure quoted for N’Zogbia seems fair. Clearly I am not saying the French man is as good as the former Boro winger, but for me there isn’t that much difference in quality.

I believe he could do a job for many top clubs, and in fact I have felt he could do a job at City, maybe not in the starting 11 but certainly coming off the bench. Arsene Wenger was believed to be an admirer of the winger earlier in his career, but that seems to have dwindled, whether it is the players sometime questionable attitude that has put him off is unclear, but something has changed.

Interestingly it seems as if it is Alex McLeish, who failed to take him to Birminghan, that is leading the charge for his signature, there were wide spread reports recently that they have lodged a bid for the player who they think can replace Downing. I can’t think of many better replacements that Aston Villa would be capable of attracting. This move may cause other interested clubs such as Everton and Stoke to make their move as well, although the failure of the toffee’s to move on a couple of players has left them short of funds.

Should Villa win the race his direct running, pace and energy would be a huge asset, and with Albrighton on one side, and N’Zogbia on the other, there could be a decent supply line for Darren Bent. I really think it would represent a good piece of business should it go through, and yet I still remain slightly puzzled as to why there isn’t interest in the player higher up the league table.

I genuinely feel that he would provide some decent options for many teams in the Premier League. I also think his experience and knowledge of top flight English football would be an asset, he wouldn’t take particularly long to adapt and get used to his new club, something which couldn’t be said about a player coming from abroad. N’Zogbia for £9million? It’s a yes from me…

Read more of Joe T’s articles at This is Futbol