Hit, Miss Or Maybe?

Last updated : 16 January 2009 By Tom Vickers

It's been a pretty drab couple of weeks in the January sales. Manchester City have thrown millions every which way but no one wants to go there, other than Wayne Bridge. Manchester United have signed two little known Serbians and Arsenal are chasing Andrei Arshavin, still.

And oh yeah, James Beattie is back in the Premiership four and a half years after turning down the chance to join Aston Villa, he now gets set to play for relegation fodder Stoke City!

While even the most optimistic of Villa supporters wouldn't really have expected any major signings just yet, given manager Martin O'Neill's cautious approach in matters such as these, it has however come as a slight surprise that the Claret and Blue aren't even really strongly being linked with anyone.

So let's have a look, in chronological order, at who the claret and blue have been linked with and the likelihood of such gossip coming to fruition.

January 4th : Milan Jovanovic
The big Serbian striker is a relatively unknown entity unless you saw him play against Liverpool for Standard Liege in the Champions League's qualifying games or you are an avid follower of Belgian Football.
Boasting a decent scoring record of 35 goals in 76 games for his current club it is thought he would provide cover or an alternative for long term absentee John Carew.
The player himself turned down a move to Everton explaining that they "aren't a big club" and that there is another English team chasing him who are "in and around the top four in the Premier League."
O'Neill is yet to comment.
Hit, Miss or Maybe? Maybe!

January 6th: Matthew Upson
With at least two, possibly three, centre halves as good if not better than Upson it seemed a strange move from Villa. We then found out they hadn't made a bid at all.
"There is not an ounce of truth in it whatsoever," declared Martin O'Neill.
Hit, Miss or Maybe? Miss!

January 6th: Arsenio Halfhuid
The deal is done for the 17-Year-Old Dutch defender who signed a two and a half year deal for an undisclosed fee from Excelsior in Holland.
"A lot of Dutch clubs are wondering how they've missed Arsenio. Credit to Aston Villa for keeping their interest in him quiet and making their move so quickly," said his agent.
Halfhuid is also Ken Monkou's cousin, who needs Matthew Upson ay.
Hit, Miss or Maybe? Hit!

January 8th:
Roberto Canella
The 20-year-old Sporting Gijon defender has impressed many in Spain during his time with the club; however, the pacey left back won't be impressing anyone at Villa any time soon.
"There is no substance in the story whatsoever," Confirmed Martin O'Neill.
Hit, Miss or Maybe? Miss!

January 8th:
Charles N'Zogbia
"My agents are talking with Tottenham and Aston Villa," N'Zogbia told French newspaper L'Equipe. "I'm waiting to see what will happen." A comment O'Neill is yet to discuss, so a comment which is presumably true.
Blessed with pace, trickery, terrific energy levels, a fine left foot, knowledge of the English game and the ability to play both on the wing or at full back the Newcastle United player seems a very viable proposition.
The Frenchman would provide ample cover for Ashley Young who has played every single game this season bar one.
N'Zogbia did go on to claim a preference for joining Arsenal in the same interview and has since been flaunting himself to Lyon, so he's certainly available, but whether or not he'd be committed to the cause or is just hell bent on getting out of Newcastle is another matter.
Hit, Miss or Maybe? Maybe

January 13TH :
Kenwyne Jones
The Sunderland striker has all the attributes to fit seamlessly into the way Villa play.
Pace, power, skill, soals and good team ethic are the features of the £12 million rated, 24-year-old Trinidad and Tobago international who would have Villa fans on the edge of their seats and opposition defenders quaking in their boots.
His aerial prowess is second to none and he can finish with his feet too. Feeding off a supply line from James Milner, Ashley Young and Gareth Barry, Jones could be one of the top Premiership strikers should O'Neill pursue the player.
Hit, Miss or Maybe? Hopefully!

Continuous: Kevin Doyle
Would cost a damn sight more than the £78,000 Reading paid Cork City for him in June 2005.
Not the most polished of performers by any means but Doyle's hold up play, goals record for club and country, effort, strength and heart would make him a great squad player for Villa and a more than adequate replacement for our Norwegian hitman whenever he is in need of rest, injured, caught breaking curfews etc.
However, Doyle is unlikely to be allowed leave Reading until the summer as they push for promotion back to the Premiership.
Hit, Miss or Maybe? Maybe

Continuous: Emile Heskey
Undergoing some sort of bizarre renaissance in terms of his popularity, Heskey is this January's must have accessory.
While he does a good job at a club of moderate ambitions like Wigan and provides balance to the English national team, the trend to declare him as some kind of hero is well wide of the mark.
The fact remains that Heskey's goal record at this level is poor and he wouldn't be nearly as effective as Carew, though admittedly, if anyone could get the best out of him it would be O'Neill.
Heskey however appears happy to let his contract run out and will make his mind up on a move in the summer. Liverpool appear to be his preferred destination.
Hit, Miss or Maybe? Miss