Hoolahan is begging for freedom

Jamie McDonald

Considering the relationship Aston Villa have with Norwich City, it's not that surprising that the Canaries are refusing to grant Wes Hoolahan's transfer request.

The Wes Hoolahan saga has the potential to become the most tiresome of the January transfer window - and it only just began.

Last week, we learned that Paul Lambert was interested in bringing the midfielder to Aston Villa. Shortly after, Norwich City spoke out against a reunion, saying Hoolahan was under contract and he would remain at the club. Then Hoolahan handed in a transfer request. Then Norwich rejected said request. Which brings us up to today.

Thursday's news reveals, for the first time, that Hoolahan would be thrilled to play under Lambert once more. He's now spoke out about the fact that he feels he's played his best football under the Scot and, as he's getting barely any time playing under Canaries' manager Chris Hughton, feels the time is right for a change.

It's difficult to see Norwich budging on this one, however. Hughton has said repeatedly that they're looking to supplement the squad, and won't be letting any players go this January. Add to that the fact that Villa swiped their manager two seasons ago and then got into a little argument over goalkeeper Jed Steer and, well, it's clear that Villa aren't the Canaries' favorite side right now.

You have to feel a little sorry for Hoolahan, who's had just five starts in the Premier League this season. But assertions that it's all Hughton's fault are false: he racked up many more games last season, appearing in 33 league matches while scoring three goals and notching three assists. It's more likely that Norwich simply added players in the summer, and the aging Hoolahan can't find his way into this squad, which plays in a 4-4-2. That leaves no place for Hoolahan, whom Lambert had playing in the hole behind the striker - undoubtedly where he's hoping to slot in should Norwich release him from their shackles.

But just because Wes wants it, doesn't mean Villa fans should be thrilled about it. Is it really a great idea to go backwards in time, pursuing aging players that were once decent under the manager?

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