|LAMBERT CLOSES IN ON FIRST ASTON VILLA SIGNING
Ladbrokes: 27 June 2012
Reproduced with permission from Ladbrokes.com
Paul Lambert arguably could do with strengthening in all departments at Aston Villa this season and it seems that he has targeted dealing with the heart of the midfield first with an offer for Feyernoord's Karim El Ahmadi.
Some added bite in the midfield would assist the club, with captain Stiliyan Petrov continuing his battle with acute leukaemia and deputy Chris Herd performing well, but perhaps not being strong enough in terms of ball retention.
El Ahmadi would arguably offer an improvement in both areas and given he only has a year remaining on his contract at Feyernoord, while being one of the club's top earners, he will be allowed to leave.
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Negotiations are ongoing, but an offer in the region of £2m is thought to be on the table for the player who spent last season on loan at Al-Ahli.
The move already suggests a change from typical Villa transfer activity in the past few seasons, which has largely been conducted late in a window and revolved around players with previous Premier League experience.
Jean Makoun looked to have a bright future under Gerard Houllier but was then shipped out on loan by Alex McLeish last season.
He has now returned from his stint at Olympiakos and his ability to move the ball on quickly could offer Villa better attacking possibilities for the new season, especially if Stephen Ireland stays at the club to provide the ammunition to Darren Bent.
The onus will then be on Lambert to bring the best out of Charles N'Zogbia who underachieved last season, while the battle would currently be between Marc Albrighton and Brett Holman to start on the opposite flank.
If El Ahmadi does sign ahead of the new season, he would be in contention for a start against West Ham on the opening day of the season.
Villa are 7/4 in the Premier League odds to repeat their success over West Ham on the opening day of the 2010/11 season.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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