Aston Villa Using Poker Face to Offload Players on Deadline Day

If you noticed Tony Xia’s tweet early this morning (below) you may have spent most of the day frothing at the mouth waiting for Villa transfer activity on deadline day.


The ‘two or three things’ were more than likely referring to trying to offload the likes of Tommy Elphick, Ross McCormack and Gary Gardner.

The issue with these players and the likes of Alan Hutton and Micah Richards is first of all the players are very unlikely to have their Villa wages matched elsewhere. Also, from any buying club’s point of view, they would be unwilling to pay the player’s full wages, even if they wanted to take such players on loan.

Thus Xia’s estimate of Villa business to happen on deadline day seemed a little on the optimistic side.

As it stands, at 20.00, there has been zero business, either way.

McCormack Limbo

You can refer back to any of MOMS commentary in previous Transfer Wraps on McCormack and the situation has remained the same.

Sunderland have been often reported to be in pole position, but their game plan was always going to take it to the last day to try and get McCormack on a loan deal, where they would pay as little of his wages as possible.

Villa have played a stiff poker face, saying it should be a permanent deal or nothing at all. After all, why give a potential promotion rival a player to help their cause? Even worse, why pay for a percentage of his wages too?

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If Villa buckle in the end to some kind of percentage wage loan deal, then it will be late on in the day.

It’s hard to think of a scenario where Villa save face with McCormack in this window or future ones.

The chances of him re-tuning his attitude and finding form for Villa, if he eventually goes nowhere, are probably the same as Villa getting any proper money back for him.

Elphick Curiosity

The Tommy Elphick situation is a curious one. He was next to invisible in Villa’s preseason. Not appearing in preseason squads, hardly mentioned in the press.

Obviously Bruce didn’t fancy him, judging by John Terry and Chris Samba coming into the club, so why hasn’t he been picked up earlier?

The ex-Bournemouth player was Roberto Di Matteo’s first signing and while he didn’t have the best of seasons with Villa, he’s still recognised as a decent player at this level after his time at the Cherries and Brighton.

Both the Blues and Sunderland have been strongly linked to him, but none have come up trumps in terms of a permanent offer.

There’s been reports of £1M offers. Considering Villa paid £3m and in today’s climate in terms of price, surely £2m would be a reasonable buy for a club looking for a centre-back that is desperate to prove himself once again?

While Bruce has recently stated he’d be happy for Elphick to stick around, due to a recent injury to Samba (who has a shocking recent injury record), will the player himself be happy?

When all is said and done, unless a decent offer comes in, it’s perhaps best to keep him, rather than let go on the cheap.

Gardner’s Question Time

It’s time for Gardner to go, but it was hard to imagine him getting as good a financial package anywhere else at Championship level.

Barnsley were in pole position for a loan in the days leading up to deadline day, and the fact Villa agreed to a season-long deal late on with them, suggests they played hardball over the percentage of wages Barnsley would have to pay.

It’s probably the best case scenario for the club, after alleged complications with Nottingham Forest over last season’s McCormack loan put an end to Gardner moving to the East Midland’s club earlier in the window.


More on Gardner here


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