Aston Villa aren't doing too badly right now at goalkeeper. Lovre Kalinic, the only member of the bunch of players that Remi Garde chased in January that actually agreed to join the club, represented a sizeable upgrade over the solid Mark Bunn and the confidence-stricken Brad Guzan - unfortunately, the FA and the Home Office kneecapped that deal.
It wouldn't be hard too argue that Guzan's time is done at Villa. Despite being a tremendous shot-stopper early in his career at Villa Park, the American's performances have fell off of a cliff in recent years. At best, he is shaky and at worse he has chucked around four points away this year. Aston Villa will certainly look to those lost points come the end of the season.
Mark Bunn will likely be Aston Villa's starter for the foreseeable future and that's not a bad thing at all. Bunn has performed well when called upon and the defense looks almost two times as sturdy with him 'tween the sticks. One will wonder how good it might've looked under Kalinic though.
Final Thought: The goalkeeping position is not one of Villa's worries right now and bar an injury to Mark Bunn, looks set for the remainder of the season. Villa will want to improve on this in the summer.
Villa's centre-back pairing is probably the emerging strength of the team, Joleon Lescott and Jores Okore look unbeatable on their day. Villa's depth at the position is cemented by Ciaran Clark and Micah Richards. The wide defensive positions remain a concern amid the current form of Alan Hutton and Micah Richards. Leandro Bacuna is Villa's best right-back at this present stage, but the squad is better served with him playing in another position.
I'm unsure as to what Mathieu Debuchy would have offered to Villa's back four, but I won't stick my nose up at added depth - it's a shame that move collapsed as it would have at least provided Remi Garde with an option.
Left-back is another matter altogether, Aly Cissokho is serviceable, but dwells far too much on the ball and looks afraid to do anything of note. Despite this, the once-capped France international remains a huge upgrade over Kieran Richardson who is Villa's only other option at the position right now.
Jordan Amavi remains injured and for that reason the gifted Frenchman may yet have another season at Villa and will look to come back strongly following a traumatic injury gained a few months ago. It remains to be seen if he will comeback the same player.
Final Thought: Villa may be set to lost a chunk of their defensive corps in the summer and I'll be surprised if Lescott, Okore and Richards remain in Birmingham this time next year. Add that to the likely sales of Cissokho and Alan Hutton in the summer and Villa look set for a defensive overhaul ahead of next season despite the return of Nathan Baker and Joe Bennett. Worrying.
Aston Villa aren't exactly bad in the middle of the park either. Jack Grealish, Carles Gil, Jordan Veretout, Carlos Sanchez, Idrissa Gana, Ashley Westwood and the emerging talent of Jordan Lyden represent a pretty solid foundation. It's a shame the bunch haven't performed as consistently as desired but there's no denying the talent in that list of players. There's no point mentioning Charles N'Zogbia, who won't be playing for Villa again and it also remains to be seen what future Gary Gardner has at Villa Park.
Worst case scenario here is that Aston Villa lose Gil, Sanchez, Veretout and Gana - this means another year of 'bedding players in'. This is the same incident that Tom Fox has cited for this awful year so far and I'd like to think that Aston Villa will go to great lengths to stop that from happening. Aston Villa could have done with a slight upgrade in their creative department and the lack of Wahbi Khazri (who actually agreed to join Villa) is disappointing, but not a major blow to the overall quality of the bunch.
Ten years ago, Rudy Gestede would have been worth £2 million as an average player, that same £2 million seems to be worth around £6 million or so in 2016. We will use that benchmark to assess Villa's failure to adapt to the market.
Villa's forward situation stands as follows: Jordan Ayew, Scott Sinclair, Gabby Agbonlahor. With the injuries picked up by Libor Kozak and Rudy Gestede, Villa have three strikers on their squad right now and aside from the unlikely rapid development of Rushian Hepburn-Murphy, they look pretty despondent up front right now.
Jordan Ayew is the only 'good' player out of the bunch, but he doesn't seem to be consistent. Gabby is Gabby and the less said about the dire work rate of Scott Sinclair, the better. Rudy Gestede seems to be growing into his role as the 'Kool Aid Man' and even though he can't be blamed, Libor Kozak has forgotten how to play football. Adama Traore plays well up the front-right, but he's injured and who knows where he will end up.
I find it hard to believe that Aston Villa couldn't stump up £8-12 million for a reinforcement. I find it even harder to believe that someone look at Aston Villa's squad, focused on the striker department and said 'It's okay'. In no way, at all, is that how you run a football team. That's beyond being frugal, it's pretty much like looking at your investment portfolio and hoping those stocks in ENRON come good. Aston Villa needed a striker, and not just to stay up.
Going back to my point about the value of Rudy Gestede - Jordan Rhodes was on the market and he needs no introduction.
"He is also the leading scorer in the top four divisions of English football since August 2012 with 85 goals - 14 more than second-placed Charlie Austin (71)." - BBC SPORT
Jordan Rhodes was signed by Middlesborough for £9 million. Three million more pounds than Rudy Gestede, which to me, exemplifies an above-average, but not unaffordable fee for a player. I understand that 'we may be going up, come to us and help' is a better pitch than Villa's 'We are 90% down, help', but I find it very hard to believe that no-one wants to play for Aston Villa, especially with the news that Khazri was willing.
Final Thought: Aston Villa's decision not to seriously pursue a striking option is damning, as there seemed to be a few on the board. Villa might be brought down from the front this year. There's seemingly no way that Ayew and Sinclair remain in the team next year and there will be a change come the summer.