For all of Villa’s youth in desperation this season, one area where they are as old as ever is in goal. No matter how good Brad Friedel still is, and he is exceptional, the guy will still be 40 come the summer.
Yes they have Brad Guzan, who is 26 and out on loan at Hull, but as that loan deal shows, Houllier and Villa are not that keen on the American Brad, that backs up the American Brad.
Sources suggest that the man Gerard Houllier sees as the true future between the sticks at Villa Park is the man who’s own teams fans will tell you is ‘the best goalkeeper outside the Premiership’.
A lot of people would agree with them as well, myself included, England under-21 international Alex Smithies is the man Houllier wants.
Whether the 20-year old Huddersfield Town player is the best non-Premiership goalkeeper or not, there is no question he is an outstanding prospect and anyone that has seen him would see a Premiership goalkeeper in the making.
Despite the fact that manager Lee Clark has openly said he will not sell and Smithies himself has said he is happy at Huddersfield, Aston Villa seem ready to test the Terriers resolve with a bid in the region on £1.5m.
A key deal~maker might be were Villa to allow Huddersfield to keep Smithies until the end of the season as they chase promotion to the Championship.
Mind you, having said that, if they continue with their injury problems, Villa might be in the Championship with them by then!