Will this signing signal the start of a rebuilding process at Aston Villa?


The news that Aston Villa have captured the signature of Shay Given from Manchester City will surely be welcomed by fans as the 35 year old keeper will fill the gap between the posts left by Brad Friedel. But with the departure of some of their key players in Stuart Downing and Ashley Young, they will need to get spending in the transfer market this summer to bring in some quality to help propel them towards the right end of the table next season and an outside chance of European football.

Shay Given is the first signing made by new boss Alex McLeish and few would argue that it is a good move, with the Irish keeper proving himself to be one of the best in the Premier League over the years, only to have fallen behind Joe Hart at City. Like Friedel, he should be an influential figure behind the Villa back line and bring a commanding presence as well good agility and shot-stopping. Goalkeepers are often underrated in my view, and the importance of finding a solid one to replace the experienced Brad Friedel was a task not to be overlooked with the other holes to fill in the squad and an increased transfer budget. For a fee of what is reported to be around £3.5million, Given could be the bargain of the summer for them and a key part of their efforts to improve in the coming season.

However, with the increased income from player sales this month, McLeish will undoubtedly be looking to bring in some talented replacements, primarily midfielders, to bolster the starting line-up. A good place to start appears to be with Charles N’Zogbia, who is rumoured to be on the Villa radar as a potential acquisition. A naturally gifted player who has proven to be very capable of playing good football and putting in inspiring performances against top teams, N’Zogbia appears to be extremely good value for money at the price of around £12-15million being suggested, with his current contract only lasting another year.

It is never easy to shine in a team who do not always facilitate a stand out performance for someone in his role. Wigan struggled last season and Charles had a massive part to play in helping them avoid the drop. He scored 5 goals in 6 games towards the end of the season, leading the club’s scoring charts with 10 goals, effectively from midfield. Versatile, relatively young at 25 and with plenty of attacking qualities, N’Zogbia seems like a good choice for Villa who are looking for an attacking midfielder who has drive, skill and quality on the ball in abundance.

There are obviously other potential additions to the Aston Villa squad that have been speculated over. Scott Parker, for one, would probably be seen as a great signing for the club, but they would have to fight off stiff competition for the relegated West Ham star from many other top sides. It may however give an opportunity for existing squad players, who found themselves on the fringes of the first team last season, to affirm their place. Players like Petrov, Delph, Ireland and even youngsters like Barry Bannan and the talented Marc Albrighton might be given more regular starts. But this is potentially a dangerous line for McLeish to take, as he would undoubtedly lack some strength in depth. Investing in the right talent at this time is crucial for Villa, and although the fans would probably agree in saying that they don’t necessarily have to break the bank on big signings, McLeish needs to think hard about bringing in players of quality who fit in perfectly with the team they have.

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