I can honestly say that I have been thrilled with everything Tim Sherwood has done this transfer window. Fabian Delph's decision was out of Tim Sherwood's hands, and Christian Benteke was going to leave after this season even if Pep Guardiola was managing Villa next term. I would even argue that Benteke's sale isn't a disaster for the club - continuing on a season-by-season cycle where we are always thinking 'this is surely Benteke's last year' only to miraculously convince him to stay for one more year is far from a sustainable model. Delph's departure, especially for the price, was clearly a negative, but at this point, there aren't many Villa fans who would take him back.
Sherwood has been rigorously pursuing some very high profile players this transfer market, displaying some ambition that has been lacking in Villa's recent transfer strategy. Take Micah Richards, for example. Last season, Paul Lambert brought in Phillipe Senderos on a free to assure Villa's centre of defense. Phillipe Senderos. Some would question if he still exists, with Senderos having not been seen since before the new year. But this year, under Tim Sherwood, Villa signed a proven, high quality centre back, in the prime of his career, fending off interest from several other European clubs. Micah Richards is a player that a defense builds around, Phillipe Senderos is a player a defense collapses around.
Going after young but proven players that are tipped to be future stars is something that Villa glimpsed under Paul Lambert, but Lambert was always looking for the bargain buy - seemingly unwilling or unable to spend more than 5 million pounds on a player. But Sherwood has already spent almost 20 million pounds this transfer window, on only two players! Idrissa Gueye and Jordan Amavi are players who have shown that they can excel in a competitive league, but also have a lot of room to grow when they become exposed to the best league in the world.
This brings us to goalkeepers. Last season, 'keeper was clearly the point of the most turmoil within the Villa ranks. Brad Guzan's spot was handed to Shay Given, who in turn lost his run of form, and has now departed the club for Stoke City. Unlike the ambitious free signing of Micah Richards in defense, Sherwood took a much less ambitious approach with the signing of Mark Bunn. Bunn is much closer to a Phillipe Senderos version of a goalkeeper than he is to a Micah Richards version, and it makes a Villa fan question certain things. The lack of 'keeper rumors in the past couple weeks suggests that Guzan will be Villa's starting goalkeeper next season, but a report in yesterday's Daily Mail communicated that he was for sale. Surely Tim Sherwood doesn't plan on going into next season with Jed Steer and Mark Bunn as his first team keepers? Keeper should be a position of reliability, where no questions are asked week to week about who is starting in goal. This seems like something Sherwood would know, but it seems as if he is quite content to head into next season as it stands with his goalies.
As a Villa fan, this disappoints me greatly. Where is the ambition in regards to a new keeper? Where is our Jordan Amavi to start in goal? Our Idrissa Gueye? Our Charlie Austin? Our Callum Wilson? I certainly hope we don't head into next season with our Phillipe Senderos (Mark Bunn) in goal, and at the least, I would hope that Sherwood doesn't offload Brad Guzan. Sherwood has been sublime so far in this transfer window, and I hope that he gets at least one more decision right by fixing his goalkeeper situation. That may not require the purchasing of a new keeper, but it would then require a public vote of confidence in Brad Guzan, to eliminate all questions about who Villa's starting keeper is.
What do you think? Let us know!