Aston Villa and Paul Lambert finally look set to confirm their fourth signing of the summer, with Dutch defender Ron Vlaar set to undergo a medical with the club on Monday.
The deal looked to have stalled this time last week as Vlaar stated that he was happy to stay with Feyenoord as his ‘dream’ move to Villa was not going to go ahead. A week is a long time in the world of football, and Vlaar now appears to be on his way to Villa Park with personal terms agreed. The fee looks set to be in the region of £3.5 million, which most will argue is very good value for a player who captained his side Feyenoord to Champions League qualification in the previous campaign.
Vlaar will be Villa’s third signing from the Dutch Eredivisie, as the rewards of their scouting system set up during the McLeish era comes to fruition. Former boss McLeish appointed Paul Montgomery as his head of scouting, and former Dutch coach Artur Numan to assist with spotting Dutch talent and securing their signatures, and it was those two, along with McLeish himself, who persuaded Brett Holman to join the club. Although Lambert let go of both Numan and Montgomery when he first arrived at the club, you cannot help but feel the pair played a role in also landing both Karim-El Ahmadi and Vlaar as well.
With Vlaar’s imminent arrival, it will almost certainly cast doubt over Villa’s current centre-back pairing of James Collins and Richard Dunne. It will be a big call from Lambert as to which defender gets shifted, as both have shown their commitment and fight for the Villa cause during their three years at the club. Collins has been linked to several clubs during the past year or so, but his performances in the heart of the Villa defence in the last campaign were one of the very few highlights in a dismal season that saw them finish with their lowest ever Premier League points tally. Dunne may be the fans’ favourite to stay, but he struggled during parts of last season for form and fitness, and his very poor showing at the European Championships with Ireland may convince Lambert that he is past his best.
Lambert continues with his Villa revolution, as he looks to shape a team that is hungry to prove themselves in the Premier League. It is almost certain that some of the current playing staff will leave during this transfer window to help improve the wage structure at the club, but most Villa fans will agree that there is plenty of optimism around for the upcoming campaign. Lambert is showing that he has a clear idea for what he wants at Aston Villa, and where he believes a club of their size should be. The start of the season is less than three weeks away, and he will be hoping for a good start to get the fans believing in his new look Villa squad.
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