Good morning, and welcome to the revised version of the links. You'll start finding these earlier, and hopefully they'll be a good way to sit down with your cup of coffee and get caught up on all of the latest Aston Villa news. Today we've got news of Villans abroad, and fans a-bored, as well as reports of renewed harmony in the Villa Park locker room.
- Mat Kendrick tweeted last night that it appears Jean Makoun is now in Greece trying to come to terms with Olympiakos for a loan deal. This is really disheartening news, as we've yet to see Makoun get a run out in any Premier League action. That said, he's got no other time to prove himself, as Villa don't take the pitch again until September 10. Kendrick believes that Alex McLeish is looking for a new midfielder to add some creativity rather than a right-back. This is simultaneously surprising and predictable. Surprising because McLeish seems ready to give up a very creative center-of-the-pitch player and he has just weakened our depth at right-back.
It's unsurprising, however, as Makoun has never really seemed to gain favor with Big Eck. Additionally, the gaffer wasn't happy with the service received this week by Darren Bent, so it makes sense that his attention has shifted forward on the field. As for the right-back situation, McLeish apparently saw enough this week in Chris Herd and Eric Lichaj to make him comfortable in that position.
- And despite the fact that I don't want to see him starting anymore, I can agree with Stiliyan Petrov when he calls for new players to be brought in. I'm sure moves are in the works, but it would be very disheartening to see more than £40 million be brought in this summer through transfers and only have Charles N'Zogbia and Shay Given to show for it.
- In terms of post-match reaction, you can see what Alex McLeish had to say about Saturday's effort against Wolverhampton Wolves at the official site. Aston Villa Central also has their usual excellent recap up.
- Darren Bent has been chosen as part of the England squad that will face Bulgaria on September 2 and Wales on September 6 for Euro 2012 qualifying. Despite not getting to see much from Bent on Saturday, Fabio Capello must be fairly confident in the player who has been one of England's best strikers in the lead-up to the Euro competition. Between Bent and Manchester United's Wayne Rooney, England have one of the most formidable front lines in the world.
- There's good news from the Villa Park locker room, as it appears that whatever fans may think of Alex McLeish, the players love him. The players being most referenced in this regard are James Collins and Richard Dunne, the central defenders who clashed with former manager Gérard Houllier. Collins, in fact, has said that while he didn't get along at all with Houllier, he's feeling "a million times better" with McLeish. In a piece by Stuart James, Collins mentions that he and Dunne also feel more fit and ready to go this year. (And, since we often criticize Stuart James, I just want to note that I love this line: "Not everyone felt disappointed after a goalless draw that even the rows of empty seats must have wished they had been spared.")
The good news is that the good feelings between team and manager seem to be mutual. Alex McLeish is very happy with the way the players are coming together. According to the Sunday Mercury.
- Finally, despite continued rumblings about Alex McLeish from some fans (which grew stronger this weekend after a snore of a match), Football Transfer Tavern asks if fans haven't already pretty much accepted the former Birmingham boss. With 5 points from 9, and the team undefeated in its first four competitive matches of the season, it has to be hard for fans to be too upset.