Today, Tommy Elphick was confirmed to have returned to Aston Villa, after his loan period was cut short from Hull City. It was a move MOMS was privy to before Christmas Day, but it had also been a pretty obvious cause of action once Axel Tuanzebe picked up his long-term metatarsal injury.
Tommy Elphick had been impressing at Hull City in recent weeks, with the Tigers the current top in-form Championship team based on the last six games.
Their 16-point haul is actually seven more than Villa have picked up during the same time period and Villa will be hoping the 31-year-old will have the same positive impact on their defence.
At this stage of his career Elphick needs to start games and that was the obvious scenario needed for his return. Despite Villa being thin on the ground in terms of centre-backs at the start of the season, Steve Bruce seemingly preferred to play Mile Jedinak ahead of him, once this season was underway.
Elphick wasn’t exactly enamoured with the situation and a source told MOMS that things allegedly came to ahead in the dressing room between Bruce and Elphick after the League Cup defeat at Burton.
Despite Villa’s lack of centre-backs, suddenly Elphick was off to Hull on a season-loan to play his football at the KCOM Stadium, where he had scored in Villa’S 3-1 win, their opening game of this season.
Common Centre-back Sense
With the shadow of FFP still lurking over the season, it makes perfect sense for Villa to draft in the services of a player they were already paying the wages of (Hull were thought to only be paying a percent of his wages, while on loan).
While Elphick suffered a dip in form in his first season at Villa, and then had to play second fiddle after John Terry joined last season, he perhaps was unfairly overlooked by Bruce.
The ex-Villa boss’s preference to play Mile Jedinak at centre-back has cost Villa points both last and this season. Elphick showed enough to be trusted more, when he eventually filled in (including a couple of MOTM performances) while Terry was injured.
Lets not forget, this is a player that captained Bournemouth to the Championship title. He’s been there and done what Villa are desperate to achieve.
You’d expect Villa to add to the defensive ranks during the January transfer window, as they have been lining up with three right-backs in their back four in the last couple of games.
There would be some immediate improvements in rearguard come the first week of the new year though, when Villa have a home encounter against QPR and an FA Cup Third round clash against Swansea City.
As well as Elphick coming back, left-back Neil Taylor is due to return from injury shortly and the signing of keeper Lovre Kalinić should improve matters when it comes to giving Villa’s backline a more steady appearance.
Centre-back Red Herring
Villa’s supposed interest in Chelsea’s Gary Cahill was in MOMS book, something of a red herring considering the player’s massive wages reported to be in excess of £100,000-a-week. Also, it’s unlikely Cahill would entertain playing in the Championship at the moment.
Press reports in recent days have dismissed the chances of the player coming to Villa on loan until the end of the season, if there was actually a chance in the first place.
Arsenal are reported to be about to seal a deal with Cahill.