Part of the problem in assessing Aston Villa right now is the fact that we're not sure which Villa we should be assessing. The end-of-season MASH-ward Villa? The January version which had some bumps and bruises? Or the version that everyone thought they were getting when last season started. It's an important question, because the club we saw in April and May was terrible, whereas the club we thought we were getting was pretty decent.
If you do choose to make your judgments based on the last few matches we saw Villa play, I've got great news for you. Villa are ready to get the equivalent of three free transfers by summer's end. Jores Okore, Charles N'Zogbia, and Libor Kozak are all on pace to be ready by the start of the new season or shortly thereafter.
Of the three, Paul Lambert was most certain that Okore would be back for the first match. The Danish defender was training with the team at the end of the season, but wasn't quite ready. Libor Kozak should be fit soon, but may not make the season's first match. “Libor had his broken leg and is doing well but he’s still a wee bit away," Lambert said.
And N'Zogbia looks on pace to be back by August as well after he ruptured his achilles last summer.
Three players who could all make a significant impact on the club, and all three without spending. No, it's not a transfer, but the impact is the same in that their return will bolster a thin Villa squad. Heck, with those three, Darren Bent and Alan Hutton all set to return, Lambert may not need to spread his money out. Blow the whole £15 million on one player, Paul! (And yes, I am joking.)