Reading – Villa: and transfer window thoughts

I’m sorry, but you’ll have to forgive me for not wanting to do cartwheels over our winter window business.
Reading around, it seems the word I’ve come across most to describe our dealings is “underwhelmed” and that’s about how I feel.
While the Guilbert signing intrigues me, it’s obvious he’s one for our future plans and that’s fair enough, although I do wonder why we’re signing players for the future, when we need them now, if we’re really going to push on for promotion?

Looking at the rest of the signings, it’s a similar story.
Mings seems our best bet and I like the sound of him, but he’s hardly played in years.
Will he be ready to start tomorrow? I’d be surprised, but we do need to give Chester a rest. The problem I have is that U-23 match fit is not Championship match fit.
Which leads me to Hause, who was supposed to have looked the business in training, but hasn’t been able to oust an injured Chester. What does that say about either the player or what Dean Smith told us?
The minimum for me, is that he’s nowhere near ready.

Kalinic is finding his feet and definitely seems a better goalie than Nyland, although it’s early days.

And then there’s the enigma which is Tom Carroll, who strikes me as a desperation signing when the Fer transfer fell through.
Hopefully he’ll add some more intensity in the middle, compared to Whelan and Jedinak, but I’m not sure exactly what his role will be. Competition for Hourihane, perhaps?
I’m just a bit concerned that Swansea’s fans seem glad that he’s gone, but at least he’s had a few games this season.

Ok, on paper, we’ve rebalanced the side somewhat.
But we all know the game isn’t played on paper and if it was, we wouldn’t be where we are now.
I’m minded to ask how we’ve actually improved a single position and would welcome thoughts on this.

So, all in all, I think we’re pretty much going with what we’ve got, which ultimately won’t be good enough, this season, at least.

So while I don’t think much of our incomings, I think our outgoings are mostly good moves.
Hogan to the Blades is a risky one, but as it was, we were only depleting his value by not playing him.
Yes, he might ultimately cost us promotion, but I’m not convinced. If Sheffield can get him firing, fair enough. At least he’ll retain more value when we do let him go.
Bree, well, while I know some were disappointed over this one, I can’t say I am. He hasn’t yet struck me as anything special and needs games.

And then there’s the kids. Smith hasn’t messed about here. He said we were top heavy and has cleared most of our attack out on loan.
Rightly so, as most of them were never going to get a game and need real minutes in a man’s game. This is the encouraging part for me.
If they do well, they come back and seriously challenge; if not, they get binned.
Bedou, I’m really not bothered about.
And McCormack, well, good riddance.

Anyway, given my views of the academy being a waste of time if the lads are never going to move up, I’m very happy about our outgoings.

So onto tomorrow’s game and I don’t have a clue what to think.
Will Mings go straight in?
Will Carroll play?

Will Reading have an advantage now that they’ve got rid of Bacuna?

I simply don’t know.

But I’m going for a 1-0 win.
Simply because we ought to win this game.

206 Comments

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  1. VillaAwayInDiv3 February 5, 2019 at 11:46 pm .

    I am sure I heard that DS was going to put in place at least a 3 year plan to get all our teams playing in his style…attacking……then if its correct I am willing to wait as long as its a steady progress. I am hoping that we can improve from the form of late and get Jack back and build around him as I have now seen that he is pivotal to the team…a thing I didn’t appreciate so much before.
    All this will hopefully not get us promoted this season…it would be the worse thing for the club.

  2. Big Fat Ron February 5, 2019 at 11:48 pm .

    Interesting article about best left backs in the Championship on Birmingham Live. Baggies have PL class in Kieran Gibbs, while none other than Enda Stevens is tearing it up for Blades with 6 assists from the left. Another one that got away, maybe?

    We’ve always been a club that can’t develop players into their full potential. A long list of players we had and let go now worth millions. So there’s no point having a class scouting network anyway if you get raw talent in but don’t know what to do with it. Let’s see if Smith can change that in the longer term…

    1. Hitchens60 February 6, 2019 at 7:55 am .

      It’s an excellent point – not only in the Championship but look around the Prem and also some of the top leagues in Europe to see ex Villa players that were deemed not good enough.

      Sadly some blame must go on the fans who are, imho, too quick to criticise and get on players backs – something we’re all probably guilty of at times!

      Football is a team game and within any team you need unsung heroes who do the hard graft or who are the glue and, at times, can go unnoticed.

  3. Pat 57 February 5, 2019 at 11:50 pm .

    Apart from Ted it’s good that most of us are willing to give Smith a chance. I just hope that everyone in the ground is getting the message too.

    Nothing is going to be achieved in a few weeks. We’d dug such a deep hole over years of mismanagement in the Prem that we should probably thank Bruce that we didn’t go straight down to Div 1 like Sunderland. It’s going to take time and anyone who thinks differently, IMHO, have their heads firmly up their arses.

  4. TED February 6, 2019 at 9:42 am .

    Pat 57 I’m simply saying perspective,
    Smith has not achieved so far, the team has actually regressed. Why cant this point be accepted?
    Bruce achieved more without Tammy, fact.
    I see comments about a three year plan and building for the future, but then I see Jack may go in the Summer and he is the main stay of the team.
    So what happens when Jack goes? the current players and a few addition’s will not make the team better.

    1. Hitchens60 February 6, 2019 at 10:33 am .

      Maybe it’s because we don’t agree with you Ted.

    2. Neil February 6, 2019 at 12:08 pm .

      Ted, it is safe to say that you are doing my head in now.Reality is we have been very poor since Martin O’Neill left. Anyone who is criticising Smith already needs to get a grip. If you have ever worked in a management role you will know that when you walk into a new job you spend the first 2-3 months evaluating the staff you have and either work with them to improve performance or make plans to replace them when appropriate.

      You keep mentioning perspective in your posts. My advice is that you get some realistic perspective yourself.

      UTV

    3. Big Fat Ron February 6, 2019 at 9:35 pm .

      Ted, if Jack is sold, what should be a substantial chunk of change will be used to rebuild the starting 11, if not the squad. It’s a very similar scenario to the one Big Ron had in ’91 with David Platt. He didn’t want to sell and wanted to build the team around Platt. But he left and a quality team was built that was very close to winning the PL two years later. And that was after the disaster of Dr Jo. There’s no reason why we can’t rebuild, although I personally hope Jack stays and Smith does build the team around him.

  5. Hitchens60 February 6, 2019 at 10:56 am .

    Actually, Bruce’s and Smith’s record without Grealish are not that dissimilar in terms of results and the football, generally, under Smith over that period has been far more entertaining so,no, I don’t accept we’ve regressed as a team under Smith.

  6. Holte66 February 6, 2019 at 6:23 pm .

    Hitch, I can’t understand how Bruce and now Smith struggle to get results without Grealish. One opinion is trying square pegs in round holes to persevere with a formation that doesn’t work without him. It’s something that needs to be addressed regardless of whether Grealish stays or goes. The past two seasons he has had a long time out injured and we have struggled. He is only one player, admittedly our best by far but even so we should be able to make do, especially when the general opinion is we have one of the best squads in the league! Smith probably can’t wait till the summer to do some major surgery. Come August it should be HIS team and then we will be able to judge him fair and square, without excuses!

    1. Hitchens60 February 6, 2019 at 6:56 pm .

      Interesting point Holte.

      Part Psychological? Both for Villa and the opposition but from opposite ends of the spectrum.

      He does draw players which creates gaps or space that others can utilise and he runs well with the ball, shields it well, has good acceleration and sees a pass. We don’t have anyone else with his particular set of skills.

      We are set up to play around him and neither Bruce did, nor Smith yet, has figured out how to alter the system when he’s not playing.

  7. TE£ February 6, 2019 at 7:44 pm .

    Just read 5bis, interesting piece, as I said before perspective

    Smith in the final days of the window.

    Delivering his verdict on proceedings, he told the Birmingham Mail: “We were looking at options but the options never came to fruition There was nothing that disappointed us too much, though.”

    If that is Smith telling the truth then the Villa fans should be absolutely fuming, for it was still quite a disappointing window for those in the stands.

    Quite frankly the manager is fooling no one with his claims – going from targeting Chalobah to Fer was quite a significant drop in itself, the Watford man head and shoulders above most of the Championship, and so to end up with Carroll is a huge let down.

    Villa needed big strides in January if they were to make up the ground on their rivals for a play off spot and looking at their squad now, no one will be too confident they have what it takes.

    Smith cannot be as happy as he suggests – missing out on those top quality targets will have a big impact between now and the end of the season

  8. TED February 6, 2019 at 7:45 pm .

    Just read this, interesting piece.

    Smith in the final days of the window.

    Delivering his verdict on proceedings, he told the Birmingham Mail: “We were looking at options but the options never came to fruition There was nothing that disappointed us too much, though.”

    If that is Smith telling the truth then the Villa fans should be absolutely fuming, for it was still quite a disappointing window for those in the stands.

    Quite frankly the manager is fooling no one with his claims – going from targeting Chalobah to Fer was quite a significant drop in itself, the Watford man head and shoulders above most of the Championship, and so to end up with Carroll is a huge let down.

    Villa needed big strides in January if they were to make up the ground on their rivals for a play off spot and looking at their squad now, no one will be too confident they have what it takes.

    Smith cannot be as happy as he suggests – missing out on those top quality targets will have a big impact between now and the end of the season

  9. Big Fat Ron February 6, 2019 at 9:29 pm .

    Ted, I really can’t help thinking maybe you’re coming on here just to wind people up. Someone before suggested you may be ‘a nose’. The things you say just sound like bait for the guys who post on here. You use the word perspective a lot, but yours is so skewed and narrow, I have to doubt whether your comments are genuine or whether you’re just being a wind up merchant. Sorry if that’s unfair but it’s what I think when I read your posts.

  10. TED February 6, 2019 at 9:46 pm .

    BFR firstly I’ve supported Villa many years, I remeber Charlie Akine, met him in Ackocks green when he had his antiques business and later at Villa, Andy Lockheed, Alex Cropley etc and as previously stated I had a birthday in hospitality last year. I attend games and remain an active supporter.
    Secondly you suggest I’m saying things to wind others up.
    This confuses me, I’ve simply posted a comment from the media. You can see the full article on news now, so I’m not sure of your point?
    It appears if I disagree and post supportive views, it’s offence.

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