As evidenced by last week's Friday Feedback, Jean Makoun is a popular fellow among the writers of this site and based on hearsay he's a pretty popular fellow among Aston Villa fans in general. Makoun was one of the few "Houllier Guys" we were able to see come to Aston Villa and now it appears his days in claret and blue are numbered. We can ignore the signs all we want. We can even take up solace in the word that Makoun is determined to stay and fight for his place under new boss Alex McLeish. Really though, at this point hoping for his breakthrough is akin to a child plugging his ears and screaming to block out the news that Santa Claus is a figment of fiction.
When Jean II Makoun first arrived in Birmingham he set the world alight with his nifty jumper and his promise of finally being that presence in central midfield who can use his experience in top European competition to bring stability to the Aston Villa side. He was one of what were to be many of the continental types (read: not English) that fans of Gerard Houllier were excited to see brought into Villa Park. But sadly Gerard Houllier's time in Birmingham was cut short by that damned heart ailment and his vision was quickly shattered.
Makoun brought with him the promise of being a player in the mold of Claude Makélélé and one capable of producing moments of magic, such as his wonder strike as a Lyon player vs. Real Madrid in early 2010 (that has been removed from all video hosting sites by UEFA). Makoun made his presence felt in his first few appearances and was an integral part of Aston Villa's otherwise disappointing 3-1 loss at Old Trafford. His eighty-five completed passes was an almost unheard of number and gave us a lot of hope for the coming fixtures. He was then named man of the match against Fulham that ended in a 2-2 draw because Villa and Fulham draw every single time they play. Things took a turn though as he was shown a straight red in a 1-1 draw with Blackpool for a reckless, two-footed tackle on DJ Campbell with twenty minutes left in the match. From there his appearances were staggered and in the end he only totaled seven appearances for Aston Villa.
Coming into this season nobody would call central midfield a strength for Aston Villa. In fact it's more than likely the club's one area most in need of improvement. There are very few people that still feel like Stillyan Petrov is capable of playing an effective ninety minutes (even if one of them is the manager) and while Fabian Delph has been great so far this season, beyond those two players there isn't much else. My argument was that I'd like to see Makoun and Delph starting with Petrov available off the bench. However if Makoun does indeed leave, and the rumors suggest he may be heading to Olympiakos, that leaves Aston Villa all the more thin in the middle. If a team is willing to take Makoun on loan, it's a fair assumption that most if not all of his wages will be picked up by that club. Perhaps then that would free up some money to add a player or two to help out through the middle. I would argue that Villa already have that player and he needs to be given a chance.
That said, I found this disturbing video on YouTube prematurely welcoming Makoun to Greece. It seems that the fans of Olympiakos are as excited to call Makoun their own as the fans of Villa are to see him get into the starting lineup at least once this season. While Olympiakos offers the benefit of playing in the Champions League it most likely won't be a long stay for the Greeks. Makoun said it himself, he loves playing in England and he wants to stay at Villa. If Olympiakos want him as badly as this video would have us believe I'm certain he can be had as long as the price is right.
How do you feel about Jean Makoun? It's apparent fans want him to stay and immediately begin to see time with the first team over the aging Stan Petrov. Alex McLeish appears to have other ideas. With all signs pointing to a Makoun exit, would you be upset if he left the club? Indifferent? Who would you like to see brought in as a replacement? Let's hear your thoughts below.