Aston Villa manager Steve Bruce was delighted to pull off a deal for Stoke City’s veteran midfielder Glenn Whelan in the summer, especially as the transfer was hardly straightforward.
As reported by The Mail, Villa had an initial £500,000 bid rejected and owner Tony Xia seemed unwilling to put any more money on the table after growing concerned with the hefty sums spent on transfers in recent times.
As such, Championship rivals Derby County looked set to swoop in and nab Whelan from under Villa’s nose – until they eventually agreed to meet Stoke’s £1.5 million asking price and hand the midfielder a two-year deal (Sky Sports).
So far, however, you wonder whether Villa’s effort was worth it. Whelan promised to provide experience, composure and reliability in the centre of the park but instead looks like an ageing 33-year-old out of touch with the fast pace of life in the Championship.
Best days behind him
In fact, some Villa supporters even found time to criticise the Republic of Ireland international on Twitter despite their Saturday being brightened by a hugely impressive 3-0 win at Barnsley, the club’s second three point haul in eight attempts this season. Whelan has started seven league games but it’s fair to say he has a long way to go to convince the Villa faithful.
Therefore, Derby will not be too disappointed to have missed out – despite lacking depth in central midfield. The Rams let Craig Bryson and Jacob Butterfield leave on loan for Cardiff and Sheffield Wednesday on the understanding that Mikael Kieftenbeld would be arriving from Birmingham City.
However, after missing the transfer deadline, the EFL refused to ratify the move, leaving manager Gary Rowett frustrated and dogged with selection headaches.
Yet, Whelan has still done little to suggest that he would add quality as well as much-needed quantity.