There is an old phrase that says patience is a virtue – that one will be rewarded for being patient for some happening. I hope that is the case for Aston Villa Football Club.
In the middle of this transfer window some supporters were beginning to get a bit tetchy: Tony Xia’s Twitter account was inactive, Villa were poor on the field, and there seemed to be no urgency in bringing players in for a late charge at promotion. I’m going to use another old saying now in that no news is good news and this week has certainly made up for the previous dull three.
Villa are close to finalising deals to bring James Bree, Conor Hourihane and Birkir Bjarnason to the club. I won’t pretend I know a great deal about these players but from what I have read and watched in snippets I am cautiously optimistic they can improve the team. I would suggest patience from fans and not to expect these players to hit the ground running especially in the cases of Bree and Bjarnason.
James Bree is a young right-back and at just 19 years of age is one for the future. The last thing he needs is Villa fans getting on his back should he make mistakes – which he will because he’s still learning the game.
I don’t expect him to play every game; I think Steve Bruce will use him sparingly for the rest of the season based on his age and to ease him in gently to his new club. I’ve read a scouting report on him recently and he’s got good pace and able to get up and down that right flank to support the winger. His crossing is already an improvement over the incumbent Alan Hutton.
Birkir Bjarnason is a 28 year old midfield player who played for Iceland at the European Championships last summer. He plays for FC Basel and appeared in the Champions League for the, this season. His pedigree is undoubted but what about his style?
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I’ve read up a bit on him since news broke of his impending signing and a he’s workhorse who runs all day and comfortable playing across the midfield and on either wing. Has scored 4 times this season as well as bagging twice at the Euros for Iceland. When I read about him I couldn’t help but make the comparison to Brett Holman – who Villa signed a few years ago with limited success. Both players seem to have similar styles and technique, let’s hope Bjarnason can be more successful here!
Finally, we have Conor Hourihane. He’s a midfield player capable of the spectacular goal with a real creative streak in him, backed up by his 11 assists this season so far.
Born in Cork, he was brought to Sunderland and then Ipswich Town by Roy Keane, failing to make his mark with both. He moved on to Plymouth where he was able to show off his ability. A move to Barnsley soon followed and his displays were a big part in them getting promotion from League 1 to the Championship a couple of years ago.
I wrote last week how Villa’s creativity void was holding them back and now we have signed Lansbury, Hourihane, and Bjarnason.
It seems Steve Bruce recognized the midfield as the team’s weakest area and he has moved to strengthen swiftly. The team looks more balanced now and hopefully we can see an improvement between now and the end of the season in terms of performances and results because neither have been good enough thus far.