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Desperate McLeish now looking to Johnson and Guthrie for inspiration

Aston Villa’s demise under Alex McLeish is set to continue as the Villa Park boss apparently looks to bring in Andrew Johnson and Danny Guthrie to ‘boost’ his attack.

According to the Daily Mirror, McLeish wants Fulham forward Johnson – who will be available on a free transfer in the summer – as Villa’s owner Randy Lerner refuses to loosen the purse strings.

Guthrie too, is yet to agree terms with his current club, Newcastle, and could be available for free under the Bosman ruling.

Why on earth McLeish would want these two players though remains to be seen. Villa were a top 6 side prior to McLeish, and before him Gerard Houllier, stamping their own brand of lifeless football on the Midlands outfit.

When you watch Villa this season, it is obvious that they have no clear style. They look to keep possession, yes. But there is no movement and direction in their play. The tempo is often too slow, and if the opposition defend properly, Villa’s strikers barely see the ball.

They have some very good players, so why aren’t they using them?

The team should be built around the speed of Charles N’Zogbia and Gabriel Agbonlahor, the guile of Stephen Ireland and Barry Bannan. They’ve also got some good youngsters coming through with the likes of Chris Herd and Gary Gardner.

Villa are probably just about clear of a relegation dogfight, but with just ten games left, I wouldn’t be surprised if they were dragged into the mixer.

The point is, signing players like Guthrie and Johnson will do nothing for Villa except increase the wage bill. Johnson is a decent striker who has long since peaked, yet still demands wages in excess of £50,000 (apparently turned down an offer of that from Blackburn in January).

And while I think Guthrie wouldn’t be a bad signing for most mid-table teams, I can’t see him offering more Marc Albrighton, Stilyan Petrov or even Herd and Gardner.

The fact that Villa are linked with these players (it may not be true) sums up where Villa are right now. How their supporters must rue the day Martin O’Neill walked out on the club at the same time it was selling all its best players.

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