Window Shopping: As you’re about to find out, January did not see much shopping in Birmingham. American owner Randy Lerner is now well known for his frugal approach to managing Aston Villa, as manager Paul Lambert has a strict budget to work to with his young squad. Some were saying a new defender or difference maker in midfield was needed, but Villa just weren’t that interested in buying anyone in January. Lambert’s project is faltering a little at Villa, as you can’t really say his team have improved that much since last season. Will the Scottish manager be around for the next transfer window in the summer?
Players In: Ryan Bertrand (Chelsea, Loan), Grant Holt, (Wigan, Loan)
Players Out: Stephan Ireland (Stoke, $750,000), Michael Drennan (Carlisle, Loan), Jordan Graham (Bradford City, Loan)
RECAP: All the deals on deadline day
Aston Villa are not big spenders and were never going to buy big in January, that’s not the clubs philosophy. They needed some extra depth in a few positions and Paul Lambert got that with the loan deals for Ryan Bertrand and Grant Holt. Bertrand has been great at left back, while Holt will add something different to the pace of Gabriel Agbonlahor and Andreas Weimann up top.
All in all, a very quite window for Villa. Not much to see here. Now the focus, for yet another season, is on Premier League survival.
Jurgen Klopp is on his way to Liverpool to sign a contract naming him the next coach of the Reds.
The celebrated manager, 48, has been on “hiatus” from football since leaving Borussia Dortmund last season.
[ MORE: Messi to stand trial in Spain ]
Reports starting emerging earlier today that an agreement was imminent, and now the BBC is among those reporting that Klopp will be rolled out Friday morning.
From the BBC:
No contract has yet been signed but that is viewed as a formality when Klopp arrives in Liverpool later on Thursday. He will be officially unveiled by Liverpool on Friday morning at 10:00 BST.
There’s not much to say besides this: Klopp’s addition to the Premier League will give more color and brilliance to the country’s footballing scene. Only a certain class of manager can be instantly expected to find a better system for an inherited group of players.
This could and should be a game changer on Merseyside.
It was a mere 48 hours ago that Lionel Messi looked close to in the clear when it came to tax evasion charges.
Now the question is whether a Spanish court will lock away the greatest active footballer, as a judge rejected the prosecutors’ (!!!) request to drop the charges.
[ WATCH: Hilarious spoof pegs Messi, Ronaldo as “Friends” ]
Messi and his father have already made a $5.5 million corrective payment, but there’s principle in play here. And the judge wants to know how Messi can claim he had no idea what was being done with his money.
From the BBC:
Lawyers acting on behalf of the tax authorities demanded 22-month jail sentences for both defendants.
“There are rational signs that the criminality was committed by both accused parties,” wrote the judge in a court filing, according to the AFP news agency.
Can you imagine one of the world’s richer men ending up in a Spanish prison? It’s very difficult to consider. In some ways it’s more plausible that he would buy his own island and start the “Messi Isle Premiership”.
Still, we won’t laugh off the idea, especially with FIFA apparently going down. Messi in prison. That’s something. Sepp in Switzerland. Lionel in Spain.