Houllier to meet Lerner and speculation surrounding Sidwell, Dunne and Barton

Christmas is fast approaching and I suspect many of you will have better things to do than come here and talk about Aston Villa, so this post is going to be a short one as I've got stuff to do and presents to buy.

There really is nothing for me to tell you that you probably don't already know, but if you believe everything you read in teh papers and on Twitter, you'll believe that there is a meeting today between Randy Lerner and Gerard Houllier and the subject of the meeting is money.

The money they are going to be talking about is to be used to bring in new players. There will be three amounts; transfer fees, agents fees and salaries and the manager will be after big amounts for all three.

They will probably also talk about players leaving but what it really comes down to is, does Lerner believe it is possible with this man, does he want it to happen and if he does, is he going to make the money available.

I guess, we won't know for sure until September 1st next year, but next month will be a fairly good indication.

$5 speculation

I'm calling this $5 speculation because it probably all means nothing and to make it easy, I'm listing it.

  • Richard Dunne has been told he is fourth choice centre back at the club. I'm presuming that Cuellar, Clark and Collins are in front of him and that the manager bases his decision on more than just the alphabet.
  • Stephen Warnock could be on his way out. Houllier sold him once, at Liverpool, and I really wouldn't be surprised if it happened again. Not nice on the player, but football is football.
  • Steve Sidwell really is on the verge of signing for West Ham. Steve who? Sidwell. He was brought in by Martin O'Neill.
  • New keeper is coming. Don't be surprised if Brad Friedel goes in the summer as all things are pointing to the manager wanting a new keeper. The one at Rangers is getting a lot of press, but I think he'll go to France or Germany for a new one.
  • Joey Barton is leaving Newcastle and apparently we are interested. Someone needs to tell the manager that most supporters don't want that type of man at the club. Someone needs to tell the manager.

At the end of the day

I told you I was going to keep it brief today and that is your lot. Spurs on Boxing Day, which is going to be a big test, so we'll have a mini preview for you soon, but until then, I bid you a Merry Christmas because as of now, I'm on a little break, which roughly translated means, at lunch time, I'm having a beer.

Update: CEO defends owner

Randy is as dedicated as he's ever been towards Villa, absolutely. When he bought the club, you knew you were going to have to pay the price to buy it and then spend on players initially over a number of years.

We've spent £140million on players and - net - it's still nearly £100million. Over the four-and-a-half years Randy has been here, probably only Manchester City have spent more. You've also got to spend on infrastructure which we did with redeveloping Bodymoor Heath [Villa's training ground] and in improving and upgrading parts of Villa Park.

There is always an initial period of spending and then it settles down a bit.But the ambition now is the same as it has always been - to be competing at the very highest level in England and Europe.

My only response to the comments from Mr Faulkner would be that it appears a £100mn net spend over four years doesn't seem to be enough and my question would be this; when you factor in the amount of debt the club is now carrying in comparison to what it carried under the previous owner, what has really changed?