Getting up to Speed on Outgoing Transfer Rumours
In recent years, My Old Man Said’s Media Muppets column migrated to audio form on the My Old Man Said podcast. Partly, it was to save MOMS’s sanity, secondly with a growing army of aggregate Twitter accounts and churnalism sites, just happy to spread any old dross to get engagement, there wasn’t enough hours in the day to write about the misinformation out there.
With Unai Emery getting Aston Villa to the kind of level that will now embolden the Villa owners Wes Edens and Nassif Swaris to take recruitment to the next level, or to quote Villa CEO Christian Purslow, to go “bold”, things should begin to get even more crazy.
We’ve already experienced a taste of this phenomenon when the rumored appointment of Sporting Director Mateu Alemany began to shape the media narrative surrounding potential transfers from La Liga. When it comes to Villa, the potential for exaggerated media muppetry speculation appears to be boundless. If one were to believe every transfer rumor out there, this summer alone would cost the Villa owners a billion Euros. However, we’ll delve into this topic further in an upcoming Media Muppets article.
Firstly, let’s talk about the current Villa players. Despite having a top-tier manager who has won multiple European trophies and the team demonstrating top four form in 2023, some players according to reports would suddenly want to leave.
While the links to two particular players seem largely hogwash, they do beg the question of whether European football will be a factor, if Villa failure to secure it this season. Or will Villa’s vastly improved fortunes on the pitch be enough to convince any player to stick around for next season, when the club will hopefully finally return European dividends.
Ollie Watkins to Bayern Munich and Beyond
If there’s one difference that Unai Emery coming to Villa has made, it’s increasing the level of clubs that Ollie Watkins has been linked to. Previously, poor old Watkins was having to be linked to the likes of Everton and West Ham, as Villa struggled in the Premier League. Any time Watkins produced a fortnight of decent form, then Spurs might even be mentioned. Now though, under Emery, it seems the sky is the limit for Watkins links.
Last month, the Daily Express newspaper declared that Arsenal were backed to sign Watkins. What was the source? Well, apparently ex-Gunner Emmanuel Petit mentioned on Malaysian TV that he would quite like to see his old club sign the Villa striker.
For a moment there, I thought Petit was trying to be Arsenal’s version of Alan ‘Rent a Quote’ Hutton. Hutton has long been involved in the desperate practice of ex-professionals receiving money from clickbait football sites for interviews, from which quotes are harvested to create clickbait stories on players that teams should buy.
You may have noticed as soon as Watkins scored in five consecutive Premier League games, he was being linked to moves to Manchester United and Liverpool too. This was based on nothing more than the lazy equation of a player doing well outside the so-called Sky Six teams should probably play for one.
The most fun recent link was the Daily Mirror linking Watkins to a move to Bayern Munich, stating that “Bayern had a scout at Villa’s home game with Fulham”. There were 21 other players playing that night, so if there was indeed a scout there, it’s not 100% their target of interest was Watkins.
With two years to run on Watkins contract, it’s possible Watkin’s agent maybe dropping stories to the press to try and lubricate improved new deal talks for his client with Villa. A new deal will very much be on the table this summer, if Emery wants him.
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Reality of Recent Emi Martinez Rumours
Apart from the usual monetary reasons, there is only one factor that could motivate Eli Martinez to leave Villa, and that is European football. No other player would have desired Villa to qualify for the Europa League this season more than the Argentine World Cup winner. He now possesses a strong desire for silverware and is the only Villa player who consistently talks about winning something with the club.
The question now is, if Villa doesn’t make the Europa League this season, will Martinez believe in what has happened this season and be convinced that Villa will be a Top Six team next season?
If we consider what he has said in recent interviews, it seems that he will give Villa at least one more season to deliver, and this is the sentiment shared by MOMS.
If he were to leave, it would only be for a substantial sum from Villa’s perspective, and it would likely be to a Champions League team.
Back in February, there were very tenuous links to Juventus, Inter and Atletico Madrid, but Villa would be able to match anything they could offer him wage-wise.
So what’s with the more recent stories linking Martinez to Chelsea and Spurs?
The Birmingham Mail/Live can’t resist revisiting the narrative of him replacing Hugo Lloris at Spurs or joining Chelsea in their rebuilding phase, perhaps simply because both Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino and Martinez are from Argentina.
Martinez still has four years left on his contract and wouldn’t consider moving to either of those teams, as they are currently going through transitions and cannot offer Champions League football next season.
As MOMS has always maintained, if Alex Ferguson were still at Manchester United, he would undoubtedly be interested in Martinez. However, I don’t think United would be willing to pay an inflated price for Martinez, considering his current contract. Clubs typically try to avoid purchasing players at the peak of the market and this will apply to the former European clubs linked to him too. Remember when United poached Mark Bosnich? Despite being at the peak of his powers at Villa, contractually he didn’t renew and United got him on a free.
Unless Martinez has a clause in his contract similar to what Jack Grealish had, Villa’s World Cup winner should be on the Villa team sheet at the start of next season.