With Ashley Young and Stewart Downing gone, Aston Villa are certainly in need of a left midfielder and if Alex McLeish fails to pay the extra £1m that Wigan are demanding for Charles N’Zogbia, they could find themselves battling relegation this season.
Barry Bannan seems the only logical candidate in the Villa squad to play on the left side and McLeish must see increasing his options in this position as vital before the start of the season.
Having already completed a deal for goalkeeper Shay Given from Manchester City, McLeish can now focus on replacing Downing, with N’Zogbia believed to be his number-one target.
However, Villa have been unsuccessful with their opening offer of £9m and speculation suggests that McLeish is now preparing to look elsewhere, rather than meet Wigan’s £10m valuation.
Wigan chairman Dave Whelan told the Daily Mirror: “Charles has played fantastically well in the last year and, with his pace and penetration, there’s no doubt in my mind that he is the finest left-winger in the Premier League.
“It’s £10m or there is no deal. If he is to go, then we have to get the right price for him.”
After selling Downing to Liverpool for £20m, Villa should be able to afford the extra being requested by Wigan.
Meanwhile, if Villa valued Downing at £20m, then there is certainly a case that N’Zogbia is worth £10m, with very few people likely to agree that the England winger is twice as good as the 25-year-old Frenchman.
The fact that N’Zogbia scored two more goals than Downing last season and provided just one less assist may back up this point.
Other options open to McLeish are Spartak Moscow’s Aiden McGeady or Manchester City’s Shaun Wright-Phillips, although neither are likely to provide the same threat as N’Zogbia down the left.
If Villa are prepared to forego N’Zogbia for a cheaper option it could backfire against them and therefore 16/1 could prove a big price in the Premier League odds that they are relegated this season.