Aston Villa’s transfer activity is currently in full swing, although there may still be a nagging sense that they are missing something, the void left vacant by former skipper Jack Grealish last summer. not yet properly filled.
Villa’s boyhood man had proven instrumental knocking the former European champions out of the second tier in 2019, before stealing the show again to help maintain their Premier League status the following season, scoring a vital goal, last day strike to keep the club safe.
Another breakthrough season followed in the 2020/21 campaign as he won 16 goal contributions under then-boss Dean Smith, despite a long absence this essentially ended any hopes of European qualification for the Midlands side.
Should Villa sign Bale?
Not for me!
After holding on for so long, not wanting to part with their prized asset, a British record, £100 million Manchester City’s offer ultimately proved too good to ignore, with the Englishman becoming just another special talent in a squad chock-full of quality.
Perhaps he misses his talismanic role at Villa Park, having meddled somewhat in the background at the Etihad, although the 26-year-old’s decision has already resulted in silverware, as Pep Guardiola said. Fourth league title in five seasons with a dramatic triumph on the final day against, ironically, Villa.
Jubilant scenes ensued for City – and especiallyGrealish – as Steven Gerrard’s side reflected on a campaign that ended with a groan, the club languished in 14th place despite the expense £100 million throughout the campaign.
In the absence of their former leader, there is no doubt that the club have faltered, with even the statement loan signature of Philippe Coutinho in January – a decision that has since become permanent – do not inspire too large a response, despite a beginning gust of goals from the Brazilian on his arrival.
Gerrard’s men, it seems, simply need a figurehead – a man who can produce something out of thin air when they need it most. Come on, Gareth Bale.
That’s the view of pundit Tony Cascarino, who has suggested the Villans could be a suitable destination for the Welshman, as reported Birmingham Livethe former Southampton man having just confirmed his planned departure from Real Madrid after almost a decade in the Spanish capital.
It has been found to be widely toxic in recent years to the 102 capsules international with Los Blancos, the winger proving a “controversial” figure in Madrid, in the words of a journalist, for his desire to put his country above his club, a fact that has only increased with this infamous ‘Wales.Golf.Madrid’ banner.
Despite this bitter and long-awaited end, the former Tottenham man provided a good return on La Liga opener. £85.3m investment, rating 106 goals and providing 67 assists in 258 games in all competitions, winner three league titles and five staggering champion leagues in that time.
The latest of those European triumphs came last weekend as Carlo Ancelotti’s side lost 1-0 winners over Liverpool to Paris, although Bale was, as expected, merely a spectator in the proceedings, having been largely overlooked for selection last campaign.
This lack of playing time may be a concern for Gerrard and co, although, as he proved on international duty in March, the £528,000 per week gem still has the ability to grab the game by the scruff of the neck even when not fully in shape, net twice in a vital 2-1 win over Austria in Cardiff – the winger an undisputed “Legend” for his country, according to manager Robert Page.
Any doubters should also look to his form in the 2020/21 season after his come back at Spurs, when he scored a remarkable 16 goals in just 20 games for the club in all competitions, 11 of those strikes in the league.
He may not be what he used to be, although at just 32 he’s still young enough to make an impact on any team, with Villa needing someone with such a winning us and extensive experience at the highest level, while it provides the added bonus of being available on a free.
The hole left by Grealish remains, NSWE should look to Bale to fill it.
IN OTHER NEWS Gerrard can land AVFC’s next Southgate with £120,000-a-week ‘outstanding’ warrior move