Manchester City defender Joleon Lescott is the rumour that won't go away. He is this summer's Hiroshi Kiyotake. And until recently, it was a rumour that I hated for Aston Villa. Lescott didn't add much that the club needed, and he was set to do so on expensive wages if he joined on. Even if he took a pretty big cut from his £90,000 per week salary now, I figured he'd still cost too much.
I'm ready to reassess my thinking on that, though, after it became know that Lescott is willing to see his wages cut in half if it means he can still keep playing first-team football in the Premier League. Suddenly, with no transfer fee and the possibility of £45,000 per week wages, Lescott is looking like a much better option than he was even a day or so ago. Ron Vlaar and Jores Okore will be Villa's first-choice center backs coming into the season, but Lescott would provide cover that would definitely be better than that which the club would get from Ciaran Clark and Nathan Baker. As depth, Lescott would be a useful tool.
But he also gives Paul Lambert the flexibility to play with three center backs, leading to either a three- or five-man back line. As Alex has been arguing persuasively in the comments lately, the rumours we are hearing about Villa are pointing towards a 5-3-2 formation being used this year. Lescott makes that possible, and with a core-three of Vlaar-Lescott-Okore, it's pretty easy to imagine the outside players of the five being given a lot more offensive freedom. There's a way this can work without being dreadful-to-watch football, and having Lescott around makes that possible.
I'm still not entirely sold on the idea of Joleon Lescott being a panacea for the club, but I'm coming around to it. On reasonable wages, he offers something valuable to the club and could potentially have a big impact in the season.
If you'd like to hear our other thoughts on Lescott, Jack and I put together a quick video yesterday. Give it a watch!