There's a bunch of stories today, and unless I write otherwise, they come from Mat Kendrick of the Birmingham Mail. Mat is a fantastic reporter who usually nails what he writes. If you're not following him on twitter, be sure to do so. But for now: to the news!
- Apparently, despite the fact that Villa have yet to sign a defender or keeper, they are looking at strikers now too. The Daily Mail reports that Villa have joined the hunt for Wigan's Hugo Rodallega. The 25-year-old had a solid if not awe-inspiring campaign last year, netting 9 goals. He is currently playing for Colombia in the Copa America. Should he join Villa, I can imagine him pairing well with Darren Bent, and I would think he'd be slotted into the spot that Ashley Young played last year. That said, at this point I doubt the interest is too serious, so we should just wait and see what happens.
Alex McLeish has solidified his coaching staff in the wake of the settlement between Aston Villa and Championship side Birmingham City. Big Eck will be bringing Ian McGuinness from City as his new team doctor, while Peter Grant will replace Gary McAllister as assistant manager. Grant was the first-team coach for McLeish at Birmingham City.
Also noted in that story is the fact that former Villan Gordan Cowan will be the taem's first-team coach, and Rafa Gonzalez will coach the goalkeepers. Hopefully he'll have someone new to coach before too long. Kevin MacDonald will stay on as reserve team manager. It is good, however, to see McLeish get the opportunity to mold the coaching staff to his desires.
- Speaking of goalkeepers, Shay Given is still headed Villa's way in theory! Perhaps even by the end of the week!
- Carlos Cuellar is on pace for a late-August return from a knee injury. I'm glad McLeish decided to keep the Spaniard around, and it will be good to see him receiving first-team time.
- Finally, in an update from the neverending Stew-ry, it appears that despite all the drama surrounding our winger, Alex McLeish is happy with Downing's performance thus far. More interesting than Stewart Downing news, though, is a story in that article about McLeish's disappointment when a deal for him to move from Aberdeen to Manchester United never materialized. Apparently Sir Alex Ferguson couldn't finalize the details. Alex Ferguson has managed Manchester United for that long.
We'll have a Women's World Cup open thread up in a little while, so be sure to join us for that!