Aston Villa: 5 Moves Alex McLeish Needs to Make
Since his arrival as the new Aston Villa boss, Alex McLeish has been in the tabloids for this move or that move.
However, there are five things that the new head Villain needs to do in order to try and get things off on the right foot at his second Birmingham club.
He did well at City, but his players ran out of gas at the end, and he could not hold onto a spot in the EPL for this season.
With that said, his success prompted his chance to take the reigns of the bigger club in the city, and now he has a chance for a new start to build on his previous successes if he does it right.
5. Let Ashley Young Go and Reinvest
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Ashley Young wants to move on, period.
He has his sights set on a chance to prove himself at a bigger club, and at this point Alex McLeish needs to let this one go and focus on bringing in some new talent with the funds that will come in.
If McLeish keeps Young, he risks either degrading any future transfer value—if Young were to have a poor season or be injured—or loosing him to a free transfer if he refuses to eventually sign a new deal.
Either way, its time to cash in.
4. Solidify the Keeper Situation
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With the departure of first-team shot-stopper Brad Freidel to Tottenham, McLeish has to bring in a capable new steward between the sticks.
McLeish's former keeper at Birmingham, Ben Foster, seems to be his first choice, but he should also look to the possibility of signing Shay Given from Manchester City. Given is a proven professional, and despite his age, he got a paid year off last season and should be in great shape physically to carry on three or four more years.
3. Secure Scott Dann Now Before It Is Too Late
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If McLeish wishes to complete raids on his old team for players like Scott Dann, he needs to do it sooner rather than later.
I doubt he even could get the youngster to rejoin him at his new club due to all the interest from Liverpool and Arsenal, but if it at possible, McLeish needs to splash the cash and get a signature fast.
2. Win over the Fans
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The fans of both Birmingham City and Aston Villa have been in an uproar over the move of Alex McLeish across town.
If he does anything, he has to win the fans over quick, and by failing to be able to keep Ashley Young, he will have his hands full.
Former manager Gerrard Houllier—who left primarily due to ill health making it difficult for him to lead the team—has backed McLeish and has called for the fans to do so as well.
Current squad member Gabriel Agbonlahor has also backed his new manager and believes him courageous for having the guts to move to the local rival of his former team, according to the Telegraph.
1. Find a Way to Keep Stewart Downing
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If McLeish wants to bring instant success, he is going to need Stewart Downing in the wide areas. With Ashley Young on the way out, he truly can not afford to lose his two best creative wide players before the season even starts.
Downing is hotly targeted by Liverpool and several other clubs, and if he is allowed to leave, that leaves only Marc Albrighton to provide any creativity on both sides.
Indeed, if Downing is sold and the club subsequently fails to get results quickly at the start of the season (in just over two months), it will be even harder for McLeish to win his fans.