Lost in all of the hoopla over Darren Bent signing with Villa (did I mention that Darren Bent now plays for Aston Villa? because he does!) is this little nugget, reported by both Sky Sports and ESPN; apparently Villa have been in contact with Blackburn Rovers about a possible move for central defender Chris Samba. From the horse's mouth:
"I heard about interest from Lyon, but there is no contact," Samba told France Football. "However, there is contact between Blackburn and Aston Villa."
Samba is a fine player and would be a welcome addition to the fold. With Richard Dunne back to something like his old self and James Collins, Carlos Cuellar and Ciaran Clark all competing for time however, one would think that the position should be less than a focal point during the January window. This is a time for filling positions of great need, and to this point Villa have done just that in adding a right back in Kyle Walker, a defensive mid in Jean Makoun and a striker in Darren Bent. Left back is still a concern and Villa seem to be pursuing options at the position, most notably Wigan's Maynor Figueroa. Aside from that Villa might be better served focusing on adding depth at the fringe of the first team, younger players and perhaps another creative midfield player rather than focusing their attention on making a big impact signing at one of the more crowded positions on the squad.
It's also worth noting that the source of this rumor is Chris Samba himself. Samba is known to be unhappy at Blackburn and putting out the information that there has been contact (even if it occurred weeks ago) between the two clubs could spur other interested parties into action. Even in situations where reliable sources are reporting a story it is important to remain skeptical. Too many parties have an interest in the story being out there to take anything at face value.
I'd welcome Samba to the club, but now isn't the time. Dunne and Collins have gotten back to looking like one of the better center half pairings in the league of late and buying in January always carries with it a premium. In some circumstances it is worth paying the premium to lock up a player before the summer window, but Samba is not quite at the level that justifies doing such a thing. This is a rumor that has persisted for a few weeks now and in general the longer it carries on without hearing of an offer being made the less likely it is to happen. And until we get a quality left back, that's just fine with me.