Aston Villa could quite possibly be weighing up a move for veteran defender James Collins – but do we need to look ‘back’ rather than ‘forwards’?
Words by Regan Foy (@FindFoy)
Thirty-five year old James Collins has been linked with Aston Villa since the summer, before there was the lopsided defensive crisis that the club are currently experiencing with the departure of John Terry, Chris Samba and Tommy Elphick.
But since the lopsided-ness has been spotted by the opposition, the likes of James Bree, Mile Jedinak and Axel Tuanzebe have all filled in alongside mainstay James Chester.
Steve Bruce had evidently seen the issue that he’d created, and that’s evident by the fact that that he’d invited free agent James Collins to train with the squad, regain some fitness and attempt to win a contract at the club – much like Christopher Samba did last season.
A positive from this situation is that Collins is desperate to prove himself, and with the right backing could prove to be a savvy move. In an interview covered by Birmingham Live, the Welshman said:
“I would go anywhere. I love playing football, still do, and I’ve got plenty in the legs. I still know in myself I can play in the Premier League.”
It wouldn’t be the first time that Collins would have played for the club either, having performed during a three year spell before leaving in 2012.
However, having trained at Stoke and Ipswich and neither of those clubs – baring in mind that they’re both Villa’s rivals in the League – decided to take a punt on him, and there has to be a reason for this.
As well as this, Collins was a bit of a bad egg in the dressing room in his last stint at Villa Park. In 2010 he was disciplined alongside his centre-back partner Dunne, for their part in a drink-fuelled coming together at a team-bonding exercise.
And finally, and perhaps most importantly, Collins really doesn’t fit into the transfer policy that the owners have set, or the kind of players that Dean Smith is used to working with. The signing of Collins could also prevent the likes of younger players, the likes of Jacob Bedeau or loaned out defender Easah Suliman from breaking into the squad – something which has worked at Smiths former club.
So, whilst he could sure up a rocky, out of balance defence, Collins doesn’t represent the new outlook that Aston Villa are attempting to deploy.