‘Rollercoaster’ just about sums up Martin Laursen’s Aston Villa career.
Nowadays, if a club signed a player with Martin Laursen’s pedigree they would spend half of Hollywood’s budget on stupid videos involving silly little pianos to announce it, or via some other form of unnecessary gimmick. But when the UEFA Champions League-winning centre-back joined Aston Villa for £3million from AC Milan in 2004, there was barely a squeak.
Even manager David O’Leary was nowhere to be seen when he was introduced to a small group of reporters in a hotel in Wishaw, the useless underserving fool. But that was likely something to do with the fact that he probably had not got who he had originally wanted and was throwing a tantrum like a spoilt petulant child.
”I’m not talking top of the range, but he fitted in with our budget,” said the Villa manager a couple of months after signing Laursen (as per the Birmingham Mail).
Dare we say, O’Leary may have even been right to have doubted his new defender after some pretty appalling opening performances, one of which prompting then Walsall manager Paul Merson to call the former AC Milan man “shaky” after a 2-1 victory over the Villans. Not to mention the injury that saw him out of action for over six months.
As horrible as it sounds, if Laursen was livestock, he would have been put out his misery way before he got his big break. But narrowly escaping the impending flop status, he made it work, and after David O’Leary was sacked and replaced by Martin O’Neill, it all started to fall into place.
Three years after his initial move, it all started to fall into place for the Danish international. He became simply irreplaceable during the 2007/08 campaign and though Curtis Davis and Zat Knight arrived that window, they simply had to watch and admire in his shadow the same way Laursen did years before with Maldini and Nesta, a role in which the Dane had initially become frustrated about in 2003/04.
Laursen peaked when he was voted the Supporters’ Play of the Year and inherited the captaincy from Gareth Barry in the summer. Unfortunately, with every up comes a down and Laursen’s was a g-force heavy disaster spiral. A reoccurring knee problem saw him out of action again and requiring surgery before training camp destroyed any chance of playing for the next month.
Injury won: Laursen was forced into retirement in 2013.
Click here to comment on this articleor
Give us feedback on your Football Transfer Tavern experience