Brett Holman: Aston Villa New Man Great Business by Alex McLeish
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The 27-year-old support striker will stay at Alkmaar until the end of the season, before moving to the Premier League on a free transfer this summer when his contract in Holland runs out.
Holman, a 53-cap Australia international (with eight goals for his country), has been a key player for AZ this season, making 36 appearances in all competitions so far.
He's scored four goals and made seven assists in the league, and has scored two goals and made two assists in nine UEFA Europa League games this term.
Some Villa fans have questioned their team's latest signing, dismissing Holman as not being prolific enough.
However, as the Australian's assist total has proved, he's much more of a playmaker than a goalscorer in the final third.
With a great eye for the key pass, AZ win more and score more when Holman plays.
The experienced forward provides the missing link in the Villans' attacking arsenal, with a lack of key passes and therefore assists evident in their play.
Villa's top assist-maker in the Premier League this season is Gabriel Agbonlahor with five, while six other players are tied for second-best with two assists to their name (including Charles N'Zgobia).
And that can be attributed to a lack of key passes, i.e. chances created, with captain Stiliyan Petrov the best at that for Aston Villa, making on average 1.5 per game.
Holman makes over two key passes per game on average, and has thus made more assists.
A player with good dribbling ability who drives play forwards and creates attacks in the final third, Holman is a player the Villa Park outfit currently don't have.
Well, they do have a similar style of player in Agbonlahor, but not one with as good an eye for that key pass or as clinical assist-making ability.
In essence, Villa's new signing is an upgrade of the 25-year-old born and bred Brummie.
Not only does Brett Holman provide something new on the pitch for Villa, but he could also have a part to play in the dressing room.
He's already won big trophies before, lifting the Eredivisie with AZ in 2009, along with the Johan Cruyff Shield.
Players almost always foster a winning mentality after acquiring winner's medals, and often have an even stronger desire to win more.
In a team lacking title-winners, having a player of Holman's calibre who has won trophies before can have a big impact.
Is Brett Holman a Good Signing For Aston Villa?
When Robbie Keane joined the club on a two-month loan at the start of 2012, it was clear he was influential both on and off the pitch.
And part of the reason was the fact he'd arrived at Villa just off the back of winning the Western Conference Championship playoffs and MLS Cup with LA Galaxy.
So Villa's new signing, even if he doesn't end up winning one last trophy with AZ, could have a similar, if not better impact with the winning mentality he would no doubt have fostered from his previous title win.
With the potential to improve the team both on and off the pitch, Brett Holman is a great addition to the Aston Villa squad by manager Alex McLeish.
And seeing as he's been signed on a free transfer—meaning it doesn't matter financially if he fails at the club (though highly improbable)—it's also great business by the Villa boss.
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