With the current dominance in the transfer market of the ‘big’ clubs such as Chelsea, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Manchester City the summer transfer window can be a depressing time for fans of less affluent clubs. This does not have to be the case however with many a quality player available on a free this summer. We shall take a look at some of the possible options open to Aston Villa boss Alex McLeish.
It is fair to say that Aston Villa have had a disappointing season this year. As one would expect with a current record of only 7 wins in 34 games so far there have been protests against the manager Alex McLeish throughout the season. The pressure is building on the Scot and should he avoid the chop before the summer he will need to make some important transfers to prevent the problems contiuing next term.
When you look at their record in more detail they have only managed to score 35 goals thus far. This is less the QPR, Bolton and Blackburn who are all currently placed below them. They seem to be very defensively minded but seem to have been unable to convert that defence into attack. They desperately need players to come in to provide better service to their strikers. With the expected departure of Emilie Heskey they will need a striker or two also.
Below are six players available on a free that could give Villa extra options when going forward next season:
Dimitar Berbatov (31) Manchester United
The striker has had limited opportunities this season at Old Trafford this season but he has a proven record in the Premier League for both goalscoring and linking play. He would give Villa a different option upfront with his ability to hold up the ball and he could link well with Villa’s current pace forwards.
Jefferson Farfan (27) Schalke
Peruvian striker Farfan can play as a striker or a winger and would be a good replacement for Gabby Agbonlahor should anyone be daft enough to sign him after Villa placed a £12m valuation on him. He is a international with Peru and has 33 goals in 147 appearances for Schalke. Not that impressive a record but this does include 4 goals in Europe, and at only 27 years old if he can adapt to the Premiership he could do a job for Villa for a few seasons to come.
Mladen Petric (31) Hamburger SV
Another striker in the twilight of his career. The Croatian international centre-forward has had a career blighted with injury, but has come back in this season and scored 8 goals in 27 appearances. He has consistently got into double figures for goals each season and if Villa can keep him fit he could certainly fire them some results next season.
Pavel Pogrebnyak (29) Vfb Stuttgard
The Russian striker has been on fire since joining Fulham where he has a contract until the end of this season. One would assume that Fulham would be unlikely to want the striker, who holds the record for the quickest five goals in Premier League history in just three games, to leave. However he would be a wonderful signing for Villa should they be able to entice him away. I wouldn’t be surprised if Fulham quickly extend the Russian’s contract before the summer though.
Sulley Muntari (27) Inter
Ghanaian international Muntari is currently on loan at Milan but his contract with Inter runs out in the summer. Muntari has experience in the Premiership with Portsmouth under Harry Redknapp, where he won the 2008 F.A. Cup, and with Sunderland where he was on loan from Inter. Muntari has the ability to play a final ball and run a midfield and would certainly be a valued addition to the Villa team. However his wage demands may be too much for McLeish and I would expect him to stay at Milan.
Kevin Davies (35) Bolton Wanderers
Davies is yet another striker in the twilight of his career that could maybe offer something different at Villa Park. His strengths lie in holding up the ball and has aeriel threat making him an ideal replacement for Heskey. However at 35 he would only be a short term solution. Being club captain and having played for Bolton since 2003 he would be unlikely to leave unless the club were relegated this season. Martin O’Neill is also looking at him for a possible move to Sunderland.