When Henri Lansbury signed in January 2017 from Nottingham Forest, he came with immense expectation after the impact he had had on the former European cup winners. He was their captain, their talisman, their prized asset, and the fact that Villa were able to snatch him for a reasonably cheap price of around £3 million seemed good business at the time. He got straight into the team for the home game against Preston which Villa drew 2-2 and whilst he didn’t do anything special, Villa fans were confident they had found a player to really help their push for promotion. So why has Henri Lansbury’s time at Villa been lacklustre so far? And why is it now best for the club to get rid?
When the Aston Villa wage bill was revealed recently, Henri Lansbury was noted as being the club’s current third highest earner on £40,000 a week, despite playing just 10 championship games in the 2017/18 season. This naivety and financial ineptitude is exactly why Villa find themselves on the brink of a potential administration. Seeing the back of Henri Lansbury really wouldn’t be a huge loss, and in financial terms it would actually be a huge gain. With 2 goals and 3 assists in 10 games, Lansbury has a semi-decent record in the championship this season, although it is worth noting that all of his assists were very short passes to the eventual goal-scorer to score a brilliant goal from outside the area, so while he gets the credit, his assists weren’t something that another player wouldn’t have been able to do. For example, Henri Lansbury got an assist for Bjarnasson’s solo goal against Wolves, so you get the picture.
The Case for Henri Lansbury to Stay and to Go
There may be a case for Henri Lansbury to actually get significant game time next season, with a very decent amount of experience in the championship and a potential lack of attacking midfielders in the squad, but his wage bill just casts a shadow over everything. He could be our captain, our talisman, our prized asset, and his £40,000 weekly wage would still mean the club would be better off selling him. Despite the fact that he is obviously a popular character in the dressing room and is a player who can definitely cope with the pressure of playing for a club like Aston Villa, Lansbury hasn’t really had any affect on the club after 18 months, apart from his equaliser at Elland Road against Leeds in December, so it wouldn’t be seen as a massive loss if he were to be sold. Even just getting the same money back for him could have such positive effects on the club, with that monster wage disappearing and freeing up huge amounts of money for the club to work with.
If Henri Lansbury is still at Villa come August, then I’m sure he will be a regular and can maybe finally be the player we expected him to be, but a lot of Villa fans will be hoping he’s not. He simply hasn’t achieved what we needed him to in the last 18 months, and the club would be much more financially comfortable if he was to get the boot. Even if he was playing every week, £40,000 a week would be hard to justify, so the fact that Lansbury made just 10 league appearances last season emphasises the size of this mess, and for the good of the club, his ties with Villa need to be cut.