The British tabloids are afire with the vultures circling Aston Villa. Aston Villa is the only American-owned club in the EPL that doesn't seem to be disgracing Americans and Martin O'Neill's squad was fun to watch. Now with O'Neill gone and Randy Lerner trying to make the club more fiscally sound, Villa's hopes for a Champions League run seem to have evaporated.
'Arry has now come to sniff around the brilliantly talented Ashley Young. Should Young leave, Villa will go from battling for continental football to fighting to stave off relegation. And if expectations are lowered from success to survival, well, Bob Bradley's the guy to deliver for you (perhaps explaining how BB has now become the bookies' favorite for the job).
If Ashley Young leaves, Spurs are apparently not able to offer a more lucrative pay packet... just an increase from 65,000 pounds a week to 70 grand a week.
Unbelievably, a mere 5,000 pound a week increase in Mr. Young's wages would constitute half of the highest total salary paid for any player on the EPL's new entrants from Blackpool. A 10,000 pound a week salary ceiling in the EPL seems insane, but if the club is focused on investing in the team for the purposes of long-term success (an important objective as any Pompey supporter can currently attest to) then there is little to criticize. Still, the austerity leads to bizarre results.
Like, for example, Charlton needs an additional striker. Nigel Clough doesn't rate former Charlton flameout Luke Varney. Enough so that he is willing to let Varney go with only one fully fit attacking player on the squad -- the American teenager Conor Doyle. Charlton is reported to be one of the few teams interested in giving Varney another shot, because, who knows, maybe he'd be effective on the wing or up front in League 1.
So, there it is, a deal that makes sense. Charlton have a need, Derby County want to rid themselves of an underpeforming squad player on the books, it is a match made in lower league football. Except, the Tangerines are also on the lookout for someone who can put the ball in the back of the net. And what better candidate then . . . Luke Varney? That can't be right.
With Charlton reported to be close to wrapping up the signature of Dagenham's Paul Benson, most Addicks would appear to be happy with an outcome of Varney going elsewhere and a proven goalscorer (even if only in League 2) on his way in. It is, as they say, a result.