There has been talk for a while that Martin O'Neill is interested in taking Gabby to Sunderland and it has resurfaced today. It isn't new news or speculation but it warrants a post. If only because the speculation today also links James Collins in the same move and for a total of £10mn.
Now, I'm on record for liking Gabby. I don't think he is an out and out striker and his record sort of backs that up. Midfielders in the same league score more than him and it isn't as if he hasn't had a proper chance, but he is Villa and when he played on the left under Houllier I thought he did more than okay.
I think he did more than okay because of his pace and because he can get the ball across. But maybe that was just me because he never really got a run in that position but again, for me, I've seen the best of Gabby on the left.
But then, to complete the post and the point of it; would you be that disappointed if he left? I don't think I would. I would if he left with James Collins and it was £10mn. If I was the owner, I'd want as a minimum that amount for Gabby.
Gabby is 25 years old and that in itself suggests that if he goes now and signs a four year deal, there is every chance that wherever he goes will be able to sell him on again and you know what they say; English players apparently cost more. I don't know why that is or even if it is true, but if we can sell Stewart Downing for £20mn, we must be able to get close to that for our Gabby.
But to the other half of the rumour and James Collins. He is 28 years old and while I think it is fair to say he played his best football under O'Neill and speculation points to disruption under Houllier and McLeish, would anyone be that bothered if he left?
I think if you were to put ten Aston Villa fans up against a wall and ask then if they would play Collins, Baker or Clark in the same position, Collins wouldn't get that many votes and to top it all off, he isn't Villa.
But, a disclaimer; it is just speculation. However, I'd like to add that it is almost believable.
It wasn't that I forgot, but it sort of happened on the day I wrote about it so I didn't make anything of it, but Matthew Lowton signed. He is a right back and hopefully he is brought in to be back up for Eric Lichaj because Alan Hutton is getting sold. That was speculation and hope too.