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Villa to give Garde funds and freedom in January - with Belgian striker top target

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After flying out to New York to meet with Randy Lerner, Rémi Garde is set to receive money and control over transfers in the January transfer window.

Garde went out with chief executive Tom Fox to meet the owner and discuss the club's plans for January and contingency plans for relegation to the Championship. However the initial focus seems to be on overhauling the team in preparation for a great escape in the second-half of the season.

The Telegraph's John Percy reports that Villa are scouting Belgian striker Laurent Depoitre, currently playing for Gent with 19 goals in 52 appearances for the league leaders. He also suggests Villa are looking to sell Gabriel Agbonlahor, Charles N'Zogbia and Philippe Senderos with any fees to be used to strengthen the squad.

Tom Fox stressed that Garde will have the final say in transfers after controversy over whether Tim Sherwood or the club's management was responsible for the summer signings, saying:

"Rémi Garde has complete and final say over players who are brought in and that situation hasn’t changed between the last manager and this current one."

Analysis: Club management go all-in on Garde

Considering the terrible situation the club is in at the moment, Lerner has little choice but to back Rémi Garde in the transfer window and hope for an improbable escape. However the emphasis on Garde's final say in the window suggests that Fox in particular is eager to avoid a repetition of the backbiting over the club's transfer policy that accompanied Sherwood's departure should the gamble not pay off.

As we noted in the announcement of an imminent new Chairman - see the report here - Fox has been keen to reject claims that Sherwood was subordinate to Paddy Reilly (Director of Recruiting) and Hendrik Almstadt (Sporting Director) in deciding transfers.

With the news that Garde may be keen to stay even in the case of relegation - as we reported here - it seems the management are looking to present a united front with the manager and block any claims that he wasn't given all the resources to escape relegation.

Whether that air of unity would continue in the event of relegation remains to be seen. Much will depend on the nature of the performances in the second-half of the season, but it can hardly hurt for the manager to receive some support- depending on exactly how much cash he gets the backing to spend.

Let us know what you think below - do you trust the board and management to back the manager or are they covering themselves? And how much do we need to spend and who/where do we need to target to escape relegation?