When Paul Lambert decided to leave his post at Norwich to become the new manager of Aston Villa, it was clear that he was not going to leave anything to chance. This was going to be the biggest and most high-pressure managerial task of his career to date and he was going to plan his every move to guarantee success. During his first press conference he told the Villa faithful that he had already decided on the players he wanted to strengthen the club, and handed a list of those players to CEO Paul Faulkner and Chairman Randy Lerner. He had a clear objective from day one on what was needed to make Villa the great club it once was and has set about this by overhauling both playing and non-playing staff.
His team of coaches, physiotherapists and scouts were brought in and were all asked to help Lambert assess what he had to work with as the players met up for pre-season training at the beginning of July. Players were brought in to help add squad depth and quality. A defensive midfielder in Karim El-Ahmadi, an attacking midfielder in Brett Holman, a fresh young right back in Matt Lowton and a commanding centre back in Ron Vlaar. Very decent additions to the squad, but Lambert still realises there is much work to do before the season begins against West Ham on 18 August.
A problem area for Villa ever since Martin O’Neill took over has been the fullback positions. Luke Young, Carlos Cuellar, Stephen Warnock, Alan Hutton, Eric Lichaj, Wilfred Bouma and many more have been given their chances, but with only limited success. Lambert was quick to address this problem, and brought in Matt Lowton from Sheffield United, suggesting the departure of Alan Hutton may be imminent. Hutton, the former Rangers and Tottenham right back, had a torrid campaign under Alex McLeish last season, and Lambert has put his faith in Lowton by admitting the Scottish International is not going to be a part of his plans.
A question still remains however over the left back position, and it is a question that needs to be answered quickly. Stephen Warnock has shown his commitment to the club after former manager Gerard Houllier had banished the former Blackburn man to the Villa reserves. Warnock, with his rashness and inability to read tricky defensive situations, is still yet to win over the Villa faithful though.
Tottenham left winger Danny Rose has been linked to the club and a loan move remains a strong possibility. He is yet to prove himself at White Hart Lane following his explosion onto the scene with a wonder goal against their main rivals Arsenal. The winger, who recently converted to left back, will be desperate to show his worth in a loan move to a Premier League club.
Ipswich left back Aaron Cresswell is another player that has been mentioned to join Lambert’s revolution, but the £6 million price tag that has been placed on him may put him out of reach, especially as he is yet to make an appearance at the top level of English football.
See what the expert tipsters are tipping on OLBG