It is obvious that Villa’s defence is crying out for a dominant centre half, so what options are there for Lambert this January?
It is a well known fact that Aston Villa have spent more time picking the ball out of the back of their net than doing anything else this season. Of more frustration for Villa fans is the continuous pattern in which they are being conceded; via crosses. The latest evidence coming during the 2-1 defeat to Millwall on Friday night.
The big Congolese defender is fast approaching his 1st anniversary at mega rich Anzhi Makhachkala. The Russian club forked out £12.3m for his services in February 2012 but, his time there hasn’t quite turned into the dream move that he was anticipating. Samba has been the victim of numerous racist incidents that continue to plague the Russian game, most notably in a match against Lokomotiv Moscow where fans threw a banana onto the pitch. Samba’s family have also remained in London since his move, which may add incentive for a return to the Premiership. Yet despite racism, and being away from family, the defender claims to be very happy at Anzhi, describing manager Guus Hiddink as a “genius.” Any successful move is likely to cost £10m plus for a player that has only played 27 games for his new club. With Anzhi unlikely to want to sell Samba would probably have to put in a transfer request for anything to happen. It would be an expensive purchase for Villa, a club reported to have little money to spend, but with his Premier League experience and sheer physical presence it would be an investment worth paying for.
Only a couple of years ago Sakho was being touted as one of the best young defenders in Europe but, time has been unkind to the promising French defender. Sakho has fell down the pecking order at PSG, behind Brazilian pair Thiago Silva and former Chelsea man Alex. Sakho has recently enjoyed a little run in the team having seen Alex pick up a thigh injury in December. However the 22 year old has still been limited to 15 appearances for the French club this season and is unhappy with his lack of first team action. He was told that he could leave the club last summer but decided that he wanted to stay and fight for his place. Now however, his fight and patience may finally be running out. Sakho would be another player that would cost in the region of £10m and Villa would most likely face competition from Arsenal and Newcastle for his signature. He age fit’s in with Lamberts youthful philosophy but, unlike most of his purchases so far, Villa would be buying a player that is already quality.
The 6ft 5in Argentine centre back currently plays for Sevilla in La Liga, but his club are one in apparent crisis. Sevilla recently sacked their manager after a poor run of results that has seen the club plummet to 12th in the table, only 5 points above the relegation zone. Off the pitch their situation is even worse, with the club’s debt rising by 15m Euros a year, meaning that an exodus of top players is imminent. At 25 Fazio is still relatively young and is a dominant presence in the box. He has amassed 104 appearances for the Spanish side but, this season has only played 13 games, scoring 3 times. He also has two international caps to his name, so at a reasonable price would represent good business for Villa. The main drawbacks however would be the time required for Fazio to acclimatise to the Premiership, he is slightly injury prone, and may not want to leave one sinking ship for another.
Another 6ft 5in South American that could provide power to Villa’s back line. He is also perhaps the most viable option in this list, as Brendan Rodgers has said that he would allow Coates to leave Liverpool on loan in order to gain first team experience. He has only accrued a career total of 21 appearances for Liverpool but, has shown plenty of glimpses of his undoubted potential. As well as providing a hardy defensive presence for Villa, when dealing with problematic crosses, Coates would also be handy at the other end of the pitch. A Villa corner not obviously aimed towards Benteke’s head may surprise a few people and everyone remembers that acrobatic scissor kick that the Uruguayan scored against QPR last year.
Lescott is a player that has already been linked to Villa, although manager Lambert has gone on record earlier in the month to rule out any potential move for the Manchester City defender. However, in light of recent, and embarrassing, disasters in Villa’s backline the club may have a change of heart. Lescott has only started 8 Premiership games for the Champion’s this season and at the age of 30 may have one eye on the World Cup in Brazil next season. To stand any chance of making England’s starting line up he will have to be playing regular first team football. Aston Villa are a club that would certainly provide that and of course are the team that Lescott supported as a child.Man City however, might be reluctant to sell Lescott as he is viewed as providing valuable defensive cover, so someone may need to come in at the Etihad before he would be allowed to leave.
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