Aston Villa captain Stiliyan Petrov will see out the rest of the season in the Midlands after Galatasaray failed in a bid to take him to Turkey during the January transfer window, but reports over the weekend suggested they will improve their offer and come back over the Summer to secure the signing of their desired midfielder.
After starting his career with CSKA Sofia, the Bulgarian moved to Celtic where he would go on to spend the vast majority of his career, he played for the Scots for 7 years and after a slow start adapting to the British game and learning English he became one of their most important players and went on to win 4 SPL titles and reached the UEFA cup final in 2003.
During his time with the Glaswegian side he played in 312 games and scored 52 goals. While at the hoops, he worked under Martin O’Neill, and when he decided to leave Celtic in 2006, he linked up with his former manager and signed for Aston Villa in a deal worth £6.5million rising to £8million.
Upon arrival, Petrov again found it difficult to adapt to the English game and a new club, but working with O’Neill he soon regained the form he had shown North of the border. He became a key member of the Aston Villa midfielder and after the departures of Gareth Barry and Martin Laursen he became the club captain and has so ever since.
He played in Central midfield as an anchorman, picking up the ball and moving it on, not a particularly glamarous roll but something that is vital in the modern game. He has notched up 177 games for Aston Villa and managed 8 goals.
In recent times his game has began to slow and the Villa midfield now contains many players that could replace Petrov so his time at Villa Park could be coming to an end. In a similar position to the Bulgarian Villa also have Fabian Delph, Michael Bradley (on loan), Jean Makoun, Nigel Reo-Coker and Barry Bannan.
New signing Makoun is a good defensive shield and it seems likely that Bradley will play along side him in a more creative role for the rest of the season. Looking to the future Delph is an exciting prospect who needs games to develop, so he could soon potentially by higher in the pecking order than Petrov too. Competition for places in the Villa midfield is becoming strong and despite being Captain, Petrov could struggle for games looking ahead to next season.
With playing opportunities diminishing the move may not be such a bad thing for player or club. Villa fans seem to want someone alongside Makoun who can set up moves and pull the strings, something that Petrov may not be the best at, he sometimes has a tendancy to slow the game down and is more of a sideways passer.
If Villa could get a couple of million for the player I think that would represent a good piece of business. In my eyes what the Birmingham side need is a replacement for James Milner to add some drive and creativity from central areas, they have picked up Makoun to anchor the midfield so if they could strengthen with a more attacking threat, adding to the the quality of wingers and strikers they already possess, Gerard Houllier could be building a team that would pose problems for many sides.
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