Remi Garde is only five games into what is looking an increasingly kamikaze new job with Aston Villa. He’s yet to win a game and is already being spoken about as getting a full backing from the club’s board. It has hardly been an ideal start.
Fortunately for the former Lyon boss, the January transfer window arrives at the perfect time to effect some change in the struggling Midlanders’ make up.
Thankfully for the Villans, Randy Lerner has thrown his full support behind any required spending, but what areas of the 1/8 relegation candidate’s squad should Garde give most attention?
It is widely regarded that, among a gaggle of unimpressive new signings at Villa Park this summer, Jordan Amavi was the quickest to settle in the Premier League.
When a knee injury ruled the Frenchman out for the long term in November, the claret and blue club immediately became weaker down the left flank.
Unfortunately, neither Leandro Bacuna or Kieran Richardson have been able to match Amavi’s form while deputising and a recruit in this position is much needed.
This is Brad Guzan’s fourth season as Villa’s first-choice keeper and none of them have been as eye-catching as you’d expect for a gloveman in a struggling side.
Although his shot-stopping is arguably his greatest asset, he hasn’t had a run of games where his performance alone has helped Villa claim points, while his weaknesses are becoming exaggerated.
Top of his list of negatives is distribution, with errant passes like the one he fired at Amavi against Crystal Palace a perfect example.
Replacing a goal-getter as integral as Christian Benteke was always going to be a tough task, after all, the Belgian grabbed 36 percent of the club’s total top-flight goals during his time there.
As could of perhaps been predicted, Rudy Gestede – the Championship’s Benteke – hasn’t been able to impersonate his predecessor at a higher level, while Jordan Ayew and Gabby Agbonlahor have been frustratingly inconsistent.
If Garde is to haul Villa out of the relegation places, he needs to find goals and he needs to find them in the January market.
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