Aston Villa had to deal with a lot of nonsense this summer regarding James Milner and his move to Manchester City. Milner himself engaged in a little power play, announcing that City needed to finish the deal within the week or he would stay in Birmingham. Now, those details may be off, as I pretty much blocked out the Milner transfer once it ended. But Villa supporters knew that Milner was already gone, and our hopes were barely raised by Milner's West Ham goal and his subsequent announcement that staying was a possibility.
Which brings us to Wayne Rooney. If you haven't checked the news yet, well, I wish I were you. Unfortunately, my job requires me to be faced with Rooney's mug before I've even had my coffee. The first thing I saw this morning was that Rooney had signed a new deal with Manchester United, making about £180,000 pounds a week. According to Rooney, he'd originally announced his intention to leave the club because of concerns that the club wasn't going to win trophies. Somehow, in the last few days, his fears have been put to rest. Perhaps United outlined an entire strategy, complete with power point and small words, to show him how they're ready to win? And then demonstrated by beating Bursaspor 1-0?
In the midst of the Rooney madness, the Ashley Young to Spurs rumors have resurfaced and mutated. Yesterday, I saw mention of Young requiring a buy-out clause in his contract. People were writing that he didn't want to re-sign because he's anxious to join Tottenham. And now an official statement from the club: Ashley Young doesn't want to enter into contract negotiations right now, because he'd rather concentrate on football.
Alert! Alert! Alert!
Someone move the Ash-o-Meter up to a bright yellow or even an orange hue, because what? Not wanting to talk about his contract? We know what that means, people. Ash wants to be on a winning side and if Gérard Houllier can't show him that Villa are moving in that direction--and can't get him a starting spot for England--he'll hang up his claret and blue and move on. And I can understand that. The kid is full of ambition. If Aston Villa can't help cement his spot as an England international, he needs to find a club that will.
On the other hand, players need to take responsibility for themselves. While some clubs are fostering cultures that allow for exceedingly physical play, causing national team coaches to think twice before adding players of that sort to their rosters, Aston Villa is certainly not teaching Young to dive. There's also not much the Villa can do about the way Fabio Capello perceives Young--and I don't think a move to Spurs is going to suddenly change the England manager's mindset.
So is this a game, Ash, or do you really want out? Because I, and many Villa fans, would prefer to know sooner than later. With Rooney off the market, yours might be the hottest transfer of the January window. While we're tired of seeing our best players leave Villa Park, we can handle it if you just tell us up front what's going on. Want more money? Ok. Need a team that's going to play Champions League football? Well, if you stick around, that just might happen. But still, it will be forgiven if you go.
But if you try power plays that are all about simply fishing for more money, no thanks. Give it to us straight. Because we're really tired of having our heads messed about and our hearts broken.