Rumours and the sniff of real progress at Aston Villa for a third season

This time next week, Martin O'Neill could be sitting in a press conference unveiling his new squad for next season. If you didn't know, the season ends on Sunday, Newcastle will go down and that means the transfer window opens.

Okay, the season ended a couple of weeks ago and it looks like we're not going to improve on the position we finished in last season - in fact I think we might end up with exactly the same as last season in terms of finishing 6th and getting 60 points, which will be consolidation, however if we beat Newcastle, it will be seen as progress this season, which technically, it would have been.

But, that was last season, sorry this season and while I'm not trying to forget it, I'm trying to move on from it as it has been a disappointing end. However, it has made the manager aware that he needs a bigger squad, based on what he has been saying the last few days, so all we need now is for him to figure out that 4-4-2 is a formation that isn't going to work unless he invents a time machine and takes the entire squad back ten seasons.

Martin O'Neill, May 16th 2009
We didn't have the squad size this season which is something we would like to address. We essentially have a young side and have got the wherewithal to rotate as much as the others do.
What I have learned is that to try to compete against those top four sides - who are contesting quarter-finals and semi-finals of the Champions League consistently - takes a lot of doing.

But, this post isn't about ten seasons ago or even this season, it's about next season and the rumours are flying about like a Birmingham City fan locked in a cage searching for a banana.

First up is Anderlecht's highly rated defender Roland Johasz. Last week it was Lucas Biglia from Anderlecht so either we have someone watching a few Anderlecht games or someone somewhere thinks a deal is going to get done with Anderlecht and they are slowly going through the squad.

I'm afraid, I can't tell you too much about him, so I'm not even going to visit his Wikipedia page to copy and paste, but I will tell you he is a central defender and since that is one position where we only have three players, we're going to need more and you can pretty much bet that we're going to be splashing some cash on that position. Also, that he's got some pretty big boots to fill.

Moving on to a rumour that I read something about yesterday and we are apparently keeping tabs on Toulouse striker Andre Gignac. I've got that bit from the BBC gossip pages and they finish the one liner with 'which could mean an early exit from Villa Park for John Carew'.

Now, I like John Carew and I've written before how nice it would be for him to play a whole season, only because he would likely get us our 20 goals a season, but in the same breath, if he were to leave, I don't think I'd be that disappointed.

I like Carew, but I'd also like someone that was a bit faster and I'd also like us to play with one recognised striker and because of his pace, if it was someone else, it wouldn't bother me that much, however I know it would bother a few, so I'm leaving it there. It is just my opinion.

That I think is about it for this morning, in terms of the rumours. My football bet for next weekend is for Hull to win and for us to get a draw at home against Newcastle. That will be enough to put Newcastle down although I might also have a cheeky bet on us to win as that will be progress on last season and it might be progress in terms of points and place, you never know.