Ryan Bertrand coming over to Aston Villa from Chelsea on loan was one of the surprise moves of the January transfer window. Even more astonishingly, the move was a pleasant surprise, given that Villa haven't had a decent left back since those few months when Stephen Warnock was clearly on some sort of performance-enhancing tea.
View from the other side
View from the other side
But there was just one minor problem: the loan move didn't include an option to buy. And with Ashley Cole nearing the point where he should be put out to pasture, it seemed that Chelsea were going to want Bertrand back, if only to play backup to César Azpilicueta. After all, they'll almost certainly be in the Champions League next season and, if this year is any indication, should be in a cup run at least through February.
And as we Villa fans know well, a good fullback is hard to find. So why would the Blues be willing to give this one up? Well, in case you weren't aware, Chelsea are busy developing an entire second team over in Holland, where the B-side plays under the name of Vitesse. And there they have one Patrick van Aanholt, just a bit younger than Bertrand and generally considered to be at about the same level of talent.
So if Villa put up the right price, it's quite possible they could pick up Bertrand come August. While we all know the club doesn't like to spend more than, say, £2m on one individual player, they were willing to splash out about £5m on Libor Kozák, and look how that's turning out. Chelsea would probably require a little more than that for Bertrand, but certainly £6m shouldn't be out of the question for a solid, experienced left-back.
Bertrand isn't the best at his position - if he were, he wouldn't be at Aston Villa. That's just the cold, hard truth. But he's a definite upgrade on Antonio Luna, and is better than Joe Bennett, who became rather disappointing. Plus, he already seems to love the Villa: "It's a young and hungry squad and that works in our favour because I have seen that the team spirit has been fantastic since the day I walked in.It's a very warm experience here. The fans have been fantastic with me as well."
Is there a downside to Villa bringing in Bertrand permanently? What do you think?
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