Rémi Garde, frustrated by a lack of support from the Aston Villa board, may reconsider his tenure as manager of the club over the summer. I was really hoping not to write that sentence. When I first saw the report, it came from The Star, and they could barely squeeze it in between galleries of WAGS and the like. Very easy to dismiss.
But then John Percy of the Telegraph chimed in:
"Remi Garde will consider his future in the summer after Aston Villa failed to make a single signing.
Garde is ready to review his position as manager at the end of the season following a tortuous experience of the January transfer window, in which he missed out on at least five targets."
Percy is a pretty respectable and reliable writer. But if I were still unsure, Nick Mashiter made me change my approach entirely:
Waiting for a link but Remi Garde would be prepared to reassess his position in the summer following transfer failures. #avfc— Nick Mashiter (@nickmashiter) February 1, 2016
Mashiter has jumped alongside Mat Kendrick as a "Villa writer I trust implicitly." He's been wrong a time or two, but his track record is as good as anyone around.
The most frustrating part of all of this is that Garde is not frustrated because players won't come to Villa. No, he's frustrated because they will but the board won't sign off on the move. From Percy:
"Villa allegedly refused to spend £8 million on Bordeaux winger Khazri, even though he was happy to join. Khazri subsequently joined relegation rivals Sunderland."
I'm not even sure if I wanted Khazri, but if Garde did, that should have been the end of the conversation. The board has tabbed Garde to turn around this club, and they ought to give him the backing necessary to do that. I understand not wanting to be burned by a bad move, but £8 million certainly should have been within the realm of possibility.
And if this is what Garde must work with, I can't blame him if he wants to leave. After seeing how this team has played since his appointment, I am genuinely convinced that given time and backing, Rémi Garde could be the man to turn this team around. His no-nonsense style and his inability to suffer (footballing) fools are just what we need.
So if he leaves because the board thwarted his efforts, we should all be outraged. Of course, this is just speculation right now. "He may reconsider his position" is hardly a guarantee. But the fact that we can even have this conversation is a damning statement about the state of Aston Villa.