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Aston Villa winter window transfer manifesto for great escape

| 22.12.2015

Lee Gormley | December 22, 2015

Villa vying for miraculous recovery

With the appointment of Remi Garde at the Villa Park helm, having replaced Tim Sherwood, Aston Villa believed they would enjoy a Premier League revival, but things have gone from bad to worse in the West Midlands.

Under the guidance of Garde, the Villans have been unable to claw themselves from the lower depths of the top flight table, currently residing rock-bottom after a torrid run of underwhelming results, with their last league victory incredibly coming on the opening day against Bournemouth.

Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Aston Villa v Manchester City - Villa Park

The West Midlands club possess just seven points going into Christmas, one of the worst ever tallies at this stage in Premier League history, with no team having avoided relegation when holding as few points to this point. Garde’s men are therefore 6/1 with Coral to stay up this season, though things look extremely bleak.

Departures high on agenda

Villa’s ace in the pack could be the January transfer window, with Garde having outlined his intentions to make smart business moves, which includes several high-profile departures as well as acquiring fresh faces to boost their bleak survival prospects.

Aston Villa v Arsenal - Barclays Premier League - Villa Park

It is believed the players who could be offloaded include club captain Gabriel Agbonlahor, Charles N’Zogbia, Libor Kozak and Philippe Senderos, with their skipper finding it increasingly difficult for game time, despite being the longest serving member of the squad.

“For sure there are some players here who are not playing for a long time and I think it is not very healthy for the group, for themselves first because as a player you want to play first-team football,” stated Garde.

“We’ll have to find a solution..”

“I can understand that they are frustrated, that they are not happy about their situation and we’ll have to find a solution. I can’t tell you exactly how many players but there are a few.”

Aston Villa v Arsenal - Barclays Premier League - Villa Park

The determined, yet under-pressure Villans boss is proving to be ruthless as he looks to cut out any lacklustre players which have failed to perform, and is keen for his struggling team’s work-rate to be high throughout the holiday period.

“They will train in the morning and stay with families. They are adults, I’m okay for them to spend some Christmas time with family – you can find strength. Then the day after they can say, ‘I had some lovely time now I want to win’,” added the 49-year-old Frenchman.

Fresh faces needed to lift morale

The Villans are in a truly daunting position and fresh faces in the squad may inject some much-needed confidence and talent into the squad, and Garde has reportedly already highlighted many January targets.

He is seemingly unconvinced by his shot-stopper Brad Guzan and will be seeking out a replacement in the New Year, with Marseille goal guard Steve Mandanda top of the list.

Soccer - Ligue 1 - Lille v Marseille - Stade Pierre-Mauroy

Although, Villa face competition from the likes of Liverpool and Everton for such a well-regarded goalkeeper’s services, but the player himself refused to reveal whether he would be at his current club in January, stating his December intentions only.

“I’m certain to come back [to Marseille] because we restart training on December 27,” said the Frenchman. “It pleases you if I fuel the uncertainty and it pleases me too.”

Midfield needs reinforcements

Another possible newcomer could be former West Bromwich Albion midfielder Morgan Amalfitano, with the 30-year-old playmaker now a free agent after leaving West Ham United by mutual consent in October following a disagreement with Slaven Bilic.

Soccer - Ligue 1 - Bordeaux v Paris Saint Germain - Stade Chaban-Delmas

Ligue 1 outfit Lille are also said to be interested in the former Hammers creator, but Garde will try to persuade the midfielder to come to the West Midlands. Potentially delving into his homeland for new players for another star other than Mandanda, Garde is also believed to desire Bordeaux attacker Wahbi Khazri as part of his January spending.

The 24-year-old has struck six goals and has contributed towards a total of 11 in Ligue 1, following up an impressive last campaign in which he dispatched nine and made five assists.

Garde will hope to acquire plenty of fresh faces in a bid to bolster momentum and confidence within his set-up, as Villa aim to make a great escape this season, though they are heavy odds-on 4/6 to finish rock-bottom and endure a daunting drop down divisions.


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Lee Gormley

Lee joined the Coral team in 2014 after studying at Leeds Trinity University, having moved across the water from Ireland, and has plenty of industry experience from his time with various news outlets in both England and Northern Ireland. After graduating with a BA Honours degree in Sports Journalism, he has since become an important member of the talented sports desk, passionately covering boxing, football and snooker, among many other sports. Lee is also a massive Manchester United and Republic of Ireland fan, but curbs any bias during his work, and outside of his job can be found regularly taking part in sport himself, such as boxing, GAA and football.