Transfer Daily: Johnstone Terms, Watkins Makes Three, Abraham Dream & Reality

Clicking on transfer rumour clickbait so you don't have too...

Transfer Rumour Catch-up

Oh, it’s the time of the year again, where people get excited about buying players that ultimately disappoint the Villa team. It’s the hype and hope that kills us all.

Speaking of which, the main beneficiaries of the transfer window apart from wealthier players and agents is the cottage industry of low level websites like HITC, the Football Insider and Football League World (more of them all in a forthcoming Media Muppets article), which simply exist to get advertising clicks off transfer rumours.

If you’re clicking on them, you’re a sucker falling for their juicy headline clickbait to stories that have next to no meat on the bone.

MOMS will try and offer an alternative and try to syphon some reality from what’s out there, before our eyes glaze over. Ok, sorry, we’ll also try and be enthusiastic!

Summer Background

So the background to this summer is as far as the Villa board is concerned, Villa have assembled the core of their squad, and the noise coming out of Villa Park from Bruce, Wyness and Xia is it is just a matter of getting in two or three players that will improve the first XI and give us options.

So, who’s been mentioned so far since the season ended?

Well, lets start with the potentially the most pressing concern to finally sort out…

Sam Johnstone

The situation with Sam Johnstone will finally be sorted out once Manchester United play their World Cup final the Europa Cup Final vs Ajax. Steve Bruce is tipped to meet Jose Mouriho to thrash out a deal.

There’s two school of thoughts here. Either Johnstone will come to Villa permanently on a £3m deal with some kind of first refusal clause for United, or they’ll be another season loan sorted out.

In Villa’s favour is the fact United’s boss seems to be recently cheerleading the rise of 20-year-old Portuguese shot stopper Joel Pereira.

“We have a third goalkeeper that I think will be the best Portuguese goalkeeper of the next generation,” said Mourinho recently of Pereira.


Since Johnstone left for Villa, the 20-year-old made his first-team debut as a sub in United’s FA Cup win over Wigan back in January.

So, in short, Mourinho doesn’t really need Johnstone at this moment in time.

The only real spanner in the works in terms of wrapping up an early deal for Johnstone could come if Ajax beats United in the Europa League Final. This would kill off any European football for the Red Devils next season and David de Gea might suddenly get itchy feet. If he left, Mourinho certainly would want more competition for the current United number two Sergio Romero.

Kevin Stewart

Do Villa want to take a chance on another ex-Spurs right-back after the Scottish Cafu? The 23-year-old Kevin Stewart has only played three league games for Liverpool since he joined them from White Hart Lane.

If Villa are thinking getting in only two or three more players, then why would they buy another right-back after getting in James Bree? It’s likely Alan Hutton will be around next season, so that’s the right-back position pretty much done and dusted.

As well as Villa, Sky Sports News HQ has reported the likes of Stoke City, Burnley, Brighton, Derby and Norwich could be interested in loaning Stewart. In the case of Villa, I just don’t see it at the moment.

Marley Watkins

Do we need another Barnsley player? Oh, remember the 1990’s when Villa would stockpile ex-Liverpool players to form a nucleus of a team? Now it seems Barnsley is the footballing supermarket Villa peruse.

The Welsh winger has refused a new contract at Barnsley and now has a number of Championship club suitors. Bristol City, Burnley, Leeds, Wolves, Norwich City and Cardiff City are thought to all be in the mix, and there’s also been mention of interest from Celtic.

According to the Birmingham Mail, Villa enquired about the player last season, but it isn’t known if they have maintained an interest.

Having bagged 10 goals last season for the Tykes and with the ability to play on the right or left flank, there is a logic to him fitting in the team. The balance of which, next season is essential, rather than just being a collection of individuals that don’t fuse together.

This could be a pragmatic and cheap player choice.

Kundai Benyu

Having completed a loan spell at Aldershot Town, Ipswich’s Kundai Benyu is expected to leave East Anglia this summer to step it up a notch in an attempt to fulfil his mooted potential.

The 19-year-old helped Aldershot make the National League play-offs after arriving in December with five goals in 23 appearances.

With the player very much a work in progress, would Villa take a punt on him now? According to seemingly random reports, Tottenham Hotspur, West Ham and Celtic, are also meant to be interested.

It’s perhaps more likely Villa in the short-term will persist with both Keinan Davis and Rushian Hepburn-Murphy, rather than fork out a compensation fee for another youngster.

Tammy Abraham

After a successful season at Bristol City, on loan from Chelsea, the man the Robins brought in to replace Jonathan Kodjia, not only did that but out scored him in the Championship to boot.

The bonus for Tammy Abraham playing for Bristol City last season was he was very much the main man, so would his ego let him be a bit-player in another Championship team?

If there’s one thing Tony Xia and the Villa board won’t want to do next season is throw MORE money at the striker position, but a loan would certainly perk their interest to help them avoid any more long-term gambles and commitments.


The problem is where Abraham ends up playing will be very much up to him and his parent club, Chelsea. Will Conte blood him next season to give Chelsea more youthful desire to offset any slump of enthusiasm from his title winners?

Then of course, there is the possibility of loaning Abraham to a mid-table and below Premier League team to give the 19-year-old real experience of the league Chelsea actually play in.

Abraham to Villa remains an outside bet and from a Villa POV, much depends on the fitness and frame of mind of Kodjia, Hogan and McCormack.

Jermain Defoe

Oh must we go through this EVERY transfer window? Zzzzz

Yes, Defoe has a relegation release clause in his contract that will allow the England striker to leave Sunderland for free this summer, but look it at from the player’s POV…

He’s 34 and has just got back into the England set up. It’s the World Cup in Russia at the end of next season, and for him to have a realistic chance of being selected for that, you’d expect him to sign a short-term contract with a Premier League team.

With the focus of pretty much all the Premier League teams outside of the top eight, of getting 40 points a season, Defoe, who even managed to score 15 goals this season in a woeful Sunderland team, will still be in demand.

Don’t expect Defoe to ever play in a Villa shirt.


For sanity and informed opinion in the transfer window follow @oldmansaid

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  1. I expect to see loan signings this window, and a lot of work trying to get rid of players who are happy to sit their contracts out.

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