Aston Villa: 10 Transfer Moves to Dig the Club out of a Hole
It has been a disappointing couple of years for Aston Villa.
Since the departure of Martin O'Neill in 2010, Villa have been consistently at the wrong end of the table. They've turned from candidates for Europe to the brink of relegation.
The squad is in desperate need of refreshing this summer. But with the diminishing status of the club and Randy Lerner's purse-strings tightening, who should the team be targeting?
Here are 10 targets that should go some way to helping the club out of the rut it is currently in while being realistic at the same time.
So who do you think the club should look to buy this summer? Comment below.
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It is a widely-held belief that the best way to drag Villa out of the hole that they are in is with a change of manager. Alan Curbishley is the first of three possible managerial signings on this list.
Most Villa fans would like to see Roberto Martinez take the reigns, but now that Wigan are safe, that seems unlikely.
Villa could go down two roads with a new manager—either an experienced Premier League manager or the riskier route of a manager new to the league.
When looking at experienced managers, the most obvious choice would have to be Curbishley.
The 54-year-old is many people's front-runner to take the job if Alex McLeish is disposed of and would be the safest on paper.
However, after turning down Wolves earlier this year, would Curbishley be tempted by the prospect of managing Villa in their current state?
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A more attractive option to some could be current Brighton manager Gus Poyet.
According to the Daily Mail, Poyet is rumoured to be interesting a host of Premier League clubs including Villa.
The Uruguayan has thrived on the southeast coast since becoming Brighton manager in 2009.
He achieved promotion with the club in his first full season and has had a successful first year in the Championship, ending up 10th.
His lack of experience in top-flight management could count against him, but a young manager who looks to play attractive, attacking football could be the breath of fresh air that the club needs.
Ole Gunnar Solskjær
A name that may lack experience but is still a very interesting prospect is former Manchester United striker Ole Gunnar Solskjær.
Solskjær may have only been a first-team manager for a year and a half, but the baby-faced assassin has tasted immediate success.
While winning the Norwegian Tippeligaen may not sound like a big deal to many people, Solskjær won the league at the first attempt with a team that had never won it before.
When you also take into account the fact that in the past 20 years, Rosenborg have won the title 16 times, Solskjær's achievement is pretty impressive.
The Norwegian's time as manager of the Manchester United reserves should also not be underestimated. Learning under the league's best manager can't hurt.
One of Villa's greatest needs at the moment is for more strength up front.
SC Heerenveen's Bas Dost would be an excellent solution to this problem if Randy Lerner has the funds available to bring in the Dutchman.
Dost has scored 32 goals in 25 games in the Dutch Eredivisie this year, and at 6'4" he would add a much-needed new dimension to Villa's strikeforce.
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This summer Villa could look to capitalise on the misfortune of others by raiding relegated neighbors Wolves for Kevin Doyle.
Villa have been heavily linked with the Irishman since he rose to prominence during his time with Reading.
After failing to bring him in up until now, this could be the perfect time to bring Doyle in.
Doyle may have struggled for goals this season at Wolves, but his ability to bring others into play has shown through with his nine assists.
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If Doyle doesn't interest you, then how about his Wolves strike partner Steven Fletcher?
The Scot has netted 11 times this season, over a quarter of all Wolves goals.
He would add the strength and aerial threat that Villa have lacked up front since John Carew was playing at his best for the club.
It has been reported that Fletcher will not play in the Championship, so he will be available this summer.
While Villa may have more pressing needs than wingers this summer, SC Heerenveen's Luciano Narsingh could be too good to risk missing out on.
The 21-year-old Dutchman has been in scintillating form this year, leading the league in assists.
He is comfortable on either wing and may give the team the creative spark out wide that has been missing since the departures of Stewart Downing and Ashley Young.
With only 37 goals in the league this season, Villa need to create more opportunities, and Narsingh can do this for them.
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Joe Cole is currently the forgotten man of English football.
A move to Villa could be a match made in heaven for both sides. Villa struggled to replace the creativity of Ashley Young last season, and Cole is a man who can capably fill those shoes.
His £90,000-a-week wages are a potential stumbling block for the club, but Cole may be tempted by the thought of playing regular Premier League football again with a view to breaking back into the England squad.
A loan move may also be an option if his wage demands are too high.
The second of three Norwegians on the list, Rosenborg's Markus Henriksen could be a magnificent capture for the club.
Henriksen is only 19 years old but could have a very bright future in the game.
A true box-to-box midfielder, he would give Villa's midfield a dynamism that it sorely needs.
For much of this season, Villa's midfield has looked static and unimaginative, bringing in Henriksen could change this.
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After looking impressive when they were first put together in the centre of defence, the partnership of Richard Dunne and James Collins was not as strong last season.
Both men struggled with injuries, and now may be the time to bring in a new centre-back.
Thomas Rogne would be an excellent addition to the heart of the defence for Villa.
The young Norwegian is the captain for his country's under-21 side and has recently broken into the senior squad.
At 6'4", Rogne can dominate in the air, and at 21 years of age, he has the potential to lead Villa for years to come.