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Celtic being bad doesn't have any impact on Rangers going unbeaten though, or how they play in Europe, does it? If that's a metric, then Rodgers must have caveats for Celtic because Rangers weren't even in the same division for a while?

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A 2 horse race with one lame horse does somewhat caveat that success. I would say that any manager having success in Scotland with one of the big 2 is going to have a caveat against them - it's a weak league with those 2 streets ahead of everyone else in terms of finances and everything that follows. You are expected to get success. As a result Gerrard has done an alright job but it's nothing particularly outstanding, and it has all those caveats.

 

Rodgers would have those caveats as well, but he's proven his ability with his performances in the PL. Gerrard hasn't. We're asking him to prove himself at Villa Park. And he might. But it's a bigger gamble than we might otherwise take.

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Yep, totally agree with all of that, it would be a risk no question.

 

I don't think the Villa job is necessarily right for him, either - like it or not, currently you are in a relegation fight and the squad has not proven they have the quality to be anything more than mid-table at the very best. As you have said, 18 defeats in 2021 is not just a failing of Smith, but the players too, and they haven’t largely changed.

 

How much investment are the owners prepared to put into the club? Outside of the Grealish money, what investment did Smith have? Are the owners prepared to put money in to make it a 'project club'?

 

I quite like Villa, they seem a well-run outfit but I'm not sure Smith was massively underperforming against where the club realistically is, and that 11th place finish perhaps flattered to deceive. 

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1 hour ago, Chindie said:

I would say that any manager having success in Scotland with one of the big 2 is going to have a caveat against them - it's a weak league with those 2 streets ahead of everyone else in terms of finances and everything that follows. You are expected to get success. As a result Gerrard has done an alright job but it's nothing particularly outstanding, and it has all those caveats.


I think you’re misunderstanding the position Rangers were in when Gerrard took over.

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1 hour ago, Gabe said:

How much investment are the owners prepared to put into the club? Outside of the Grealish money, what investment did Smith have? Are the owners prepared to put money in to make it a 'project club'?

 

 

So far they have backed the manager to the hilt.   We had a positive net spend last summer, but  2019/20 and 2020/21 saw £100m+ windows.  I think our wage bill is still firmly mid table, but the board have been throwing money at the youth team in a big way too.  We aren't gonna be playing with cheat mode money like Liverpool, Chelsea, Man City, Man Utd (etc) but the impression I get is that the club will be operating with the financial clout of someone like Leicester or Everton.  We've got a talented squad who are probably in a false position right now, so it's definitely gonna be an appealing job. 

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3 hours ago, Gabe said:

How much investment are the owners prepared to put into the club? Outside of the Grealish money, what investment did Smith have? Are the owners prepared to put money in to make it a 'project club'?

 

I quite like Villa, they seem a well-run outfit but I'm not sure Smith was massively underperforming against where the club realistically is, and that 11th place finish perhaps flattered to deceive. 

 

We've been prepared to spend money. The summer we were promoted we spent £100m infamously (but that was a case of absolutely needing to - we had lost a lot of players, we basically had to buy a new squad), 2020 summer we spent that more or less again, this summer we basically spent the Grealish money, and I think the club knows more money needs to be spent still as we're still missing some presence in some positions. The owners are very open in their wanting CL football and they seem to know that will need investment. For reference in all that spending I think we've broken our transfer record fee 3 or 4 times.

 

As for 11th last season... There's a few things you can say about it. Obviously it was progress from the prior season and we did bloody well to get that progress. But... We fell off a cliff after Christmas and I reckon there will be decent correlation between our results and Grealish being fit. A criticism Smith had levelled against him was he was overly reliant on Grealish and when he wasn't playing or was off form we stuttered (equally it should be said that the player that was sold for £100m was heavily developed by Smith and his team). But with the start we had last season we should have done better over the season than 11th. The team gave up with 10 or so games to go. And this year we've been ropey and have had considerable backroom upheaval - Smith's long term assistant Richard O'Kelly left suddenly, Terry left suddenly, we've brought in new coaches, etc etc.

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3 hours ago, Calashnikov said:


I think you’re misunderstanding the position Rangers were in when Gerrard took over.

Oh I know that Rangers were a basket case financially and had gone through the multiple relegations, but still the point would stand that Rangers and Celtic are basically playing the Scottish leagues with cheat codes on. Even with the relegations and the finance problems, Rangers are in a different universe to the likes of St Mirren or Hibs even.

 

I'm just not that impressed with someone being successful with an Old Firm side ultimately. Even with the unbeaten season. He might be a great manager and all of this discussion looks daft in time, but he represents a bigger gamble than a manager who has experience of a top league and who has worked with misfiring teams with heavy loads of pressure.

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  • 1 month later...

A month, 6 games into the Gerrard era and so far, he's proving me wrong. Fair play. We're a far better side under him. We've won 4 of the 6 games hes had and the 2 losses were against Citeh, who we arguably were worth a point in, and Liverpool who needed a soft pen to beat us.

 

We look more motivated, more driven, and we look like we've got more clued up in our play. We're harder to beat and we play more dynamically. Under Smith too many games would dissolve into pumping aimless crosses into the box, and too often we just didn't turn up. And we're using subs smartly at last.

 

More please.

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That's the table since Gerrard took the Villa job.   Even though Palace and Brighton are in the bottom half people would have said they were both in good form before we played them (Brighton were unbeaten away, Palace were unbeaten at home) so yeah, we are getting good results against the teams we should be beating if we want a top half/flirt with Europe kind of a season.   

 

I've been very impressed with Gerrard so far, I loved how he refused to play along with the media circus about his return to Anfield. Clearly he's still Liverpool through and through but he was a Villa man that day and I think it probably earned him even more respect from the Kop as it shows he's a serious manager and not a big name trading on former glories. 

 

Everybody is playing well at the moment, I am a little concerned about how long it will last because at some point the team will solidify and people who aren't getting a game will start feeling a little bit disillusioned but right now it couldn't be much better.   I'm curious about exactly what changed at Bodymoor, clearly making us more difficult to run through has been a priority and it's been effective so far but these are the same players who weren't running through walls for Dean Smith.  Did Smith just allow whatever we had after project restart and during the first half of 2020/21 to slip?  It's too simple and answer to say everything was about Jack Grealish under Smith because that simply wasn't true, we had lots of big performances for 20-25 games in the second half of calendar year 2020.    I'm curious as to what we will do in January, I can't see much happening in the transfer market unless something has already been lined up with Gerrard's blessing because right now there's no obvious weaknesses in the squad.  Clearly we can upgrade almost every position with a better player, but moves like that tend to happen in the summer and really I'm starting to think about who is on their way out more than who we bring in.  I'd be really interested in seeing what Gerrard thinks of Leon Bailey because he doesn't look like a player who fits in this system. 

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We might be forced to buy in Jan with Nakamba's injury.

 

We could have done with someone in that midfield destroyer role anyway, to his credit Nakamba stepped up a level under Gerrard but was still technically limited. Now he's out long term it probably pushes the need even higher - in midfield our only senior player who can do that job is Luiz, and it's clear he doesn't really view that as his role and I'm not sure Gerrard does either.

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The thing is if Gerrard can get a tune out of Nakamba as quickly as he did then it might be as much about the system as it was about the talent of the player.  One accusation you could throw at Smith is that it was too complicated and players were crippled by indecision and while Gerrard isn’t playing agricultural football he is asking Nakamba to keep it simple. This is definitely time for Sanson to step up, but it looks like he’s one of the guys who have covid.  
 

I guess what I’m saying is I’d rather us sign the right player at DM even if that means waiting until the summer rather than spunking the budget on whoever is available in January because a guy who had four or five good games in a row got injured. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Barcelona  need him off the books so they can register Ferran Torres.   It’s almost certainly agent bullshit linking him with a plausible destination, but speaking as someone who thought that even the “good” version of Coutinho was one of the most overrated players on the planet I really don’t want to see us sign an aging one who has been crap for three years just so Barca can rob Peter to pay Paul.   

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The Guardian are saying we’re interested, so it might be plausible. He played with Gerrard, so there’s a personal link.

 

If we can do a Golden Age Big Sam deal, and get a hungry pro, with a point to prove, then it’ll be a no brainer. He could be a great influence on some of the academy players, like Chukwuemeka. There’s a World Cup coming, so there’d me motivation.

 

Or, he could be a fat passenger who’s after a pay day, and he’s a massive disruption.

 

 

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I can’t see any upside tbh.  Clearly he’s better than players we have at the club, but he’s going to disrupt the progress of guys like Buendia who will be here for more than 20 games.  If we’ve got money to spend then it needs to be used to strengthen elsewhere. 

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I’m presuming he’d be in addition to the defensive reinforcements we need, rather than instead of. Not sure what percentage of his wages we’d be paying, but I don’t think money is the major consideration.

 

Will he improve the current team?
 

Will he help bring on less experienced players, or disrupt their progress?

 

I think the first one is a definite yes, and the second is unknown. Supposedly, he’s a good pro who works hard and doesn’t cause any trouble, so I’d hope he’d be a positive influence.

 

I think the board see him as a way of raising the profile of the club, much like Gerrard.

 

Having said all that I think he’ll go to Newcastle or Spurs.

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Coutinho wouldn't be a name that came into my thoughts for a second, I don't even think the position would be one I look to make a signing on this window.

 

But even with him not being the player he was, and with his old self being overhyped, he's a step up for us and on loan I don't think I'd turn my nose up at bringing him in. Saying that I don't expect us to sign him. I imagine Newcastle will chuck blood filled oil barrels at Barca.

 

We absolutely need to spend elsewhere though. We NEED a good DM. We have to sign one. And Targett needs to be upgraded as he's clearly not the kind of fullback Gerrard's style needs.

 

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