He debuted with Aston Villa in 2006 and now Gabby Agbonlahor is set to be with the club through the 2017-18 season. The news comes as the result of a four-year contract extension that will see the 27-year-old spend the entirety of the best years of his career with the club.
My initial reaction, which you can hear when we release the podcast tomorrow, was that a four-year move for Agbonlahor was exactly what the club didn't need to do. Now, a couple of hours later, I'm beginning to think I don't mind it nearly as much. Sure, extensions for Fabian Delph, Ron Vlaar, and Jack Grealish should have perhaps taken priority, but we don't know if those have been offered yet. For all we know, Gabby may be the first domino to fall in a string of good news.
And no, Gabby isn't quite the player that we'd all like him to be. But he still is one of the fastest players in the Premier League, and as he showed against Hull City, he can still find the back of the net from time to time. I imagine that this contract will be the one that sees him shift from starter to substitute – a move that could happen this season if Libor Kozak and Christian Benteke can be as good as we hope – but it isn't for an unreasonable amount of time (he'll be just 31 when it's over).
And football analyzing aside, this is a great PR move. Gabby has never been with another club (except on loan) and joined Villa all the way back in 1994. That sort of player, one who combines that sort of loyalty with the ability to start in the Premier League, is exceedingly rare and should be cherished. Gabby will frustrate us, he'll amaze us, but through it all he'll be our player. And in the end, there's something very comforting and nice about that.
So congrats to Gabby, and here's to the best four years of your career!