New Aston Villa manager Gerrard Houllier will be looking at bolstering his squad in January. With a few names apparently already on his list, Houllier is evidently wasting no time in trying to get the proven names in a claret shirt as The Villains look to climb the league.
The Sunderland loanee could find himself in the Premiership on a permanent basis if he maintains his form. The ‘Rock of Gibraltar’ as he is known, is now a fully fledged international for Ghana, and statistics also show that he was Sunderland’s best defender in 2009/10, with more games won during which he played. Aston Villa have shown a worrying habit of conceding sloppy goals, as evidenced by the 6-0 drubbing at Newcastle and the embarrassing 2-3 defeat at home to Rapid Vienna in the Europa League. With Mensah’s impressive overall career record, Houllier would be well advised to speak to Lyon.
The classic ‘Marmite’ player is seemingly content at Spurs, but may be movable if the right bid came along. The arrival of Rafael Van Der Vaart has set the cat amongst the pigeons, and although opinions remain mixed, his morale remains sky high as he looks to establish himself as Tottenham’s jewel in the crown. Jenas found himself frustrated last season, appearing in just 19 (half) of the 38 Premier League games – if indeed he is slipping out of favour at Tottenham, he could be ripe for picking come January.
With goalkeeper Brad Friedel approaching 40 years old, who better to pursue than Watford’s 22 year old Scott Loach? The Vicarage Road custodian had a good season for Watford in 2009/10, appearaing in all 46 Championship games and keeping 12 clean sheets for a team who were locked in a relegation battle until late April. Houllier should have little to lose if Loach is willing to make the jump to the top flight and catch it with both hands – literally.
It wouldn’t be a Houllier target list without a couple of Frenchmen on it, and the first is Blackburn Rovers’ great white hope Steven N’Zonzi. Blackburn have a reputation for their solid, workmanlike approach but not for their style and panache, but N’Zonzi (along with mainstay Morten Gamst Pedersen on the opposite wing) defies that idea. His wonder strike against Everton back in April was astonishing in both the power and placement, and although he has recently signed a 5-year deal at Ewood Park, any additional money from Randy Lerner may do the necessary talking if Villa are to make a bid come the new year.
It was only a matter of time before this name cropped up, and much like other rumours of him returning to Liverpool or going to Manchester United, this one could easily be dismissed on account of his morale at Panathiniakos. Cisse was the top goalscorer in the 2009/10 Greek Premier League for Panathiniakos, and stated his desire to play in the Champions League – he even has a tattoo of the Panathiniakos clover on his right thigh. All the signs may point to “no” for a transfer to Villa Park, where European football of any form is currently absent altogether, but things have a funny way of turning around in this day and age of football.Like what the TT have on offer? Sign up for more notifications!