News Opinion

Is There More Than Meets the Eye Amidst Bonatini and Sainsbury Links?

Aston Villa players are set to return from holiday and get back to business as usual next week. There hasn’t been much news outside of Keith Wyness’ sacking, a soft statement from the owner and rumours of Villa needing outside investment to maintain a positive cash flow. While Villa supporters all over the world sit on their hands and wait for the other foot to drop when it comes to the financial happenings within the club, there are still a number of transfer links involving Villa that are swirling about.

In the event that Villa are as ‘skint’ as some supporters would be led to believe, why would even somewhat decent players want to come play for the club? Yet, there are quite a few interesting names being tied to the Claret & Blue. It is obvious that every transfer rumour in late June into early July should be taken with a grain of salt, but one could not argue that there are a few decent footballers being linked with a switch to Villa.

Austrailian international centre-back Trent Sainsbury has been the latest player to be rumoured to join Aston Villa before the close of the transfer window after putting a few good shifts for his country at the World Cup. Sainsbury is currently employed in by Jiangu Suning, a Chinese Super League club. The 26-year old has spent the previous two campaigns away from his parent club. Inter Milan came knocking in the 16/17 campaign to bring Sainsbury in on loan. The centre-back would go on to feature for the Italian giant for only 19 minutes while in Serie A. The next loan move to Swiss side Grasshopper Club Zürich would prove a better fit for Sainsbury. The Aussie would play 9 times in a Grasshopper kit, collecting four yellow cards along the way. Sainsbury is the kind of defender than Aston Villa supporters could really get behind due to his definitive tackling skills. He may not possess the kind of athletic ability to dribble the ball out of danger in his own third of the pitch, but his tendency to put the ball into touch at a moments notice has an air of football from another time.

Leo Bonatini has also been linked to Aston Villa in a loan capacity, but it seems as though the striker position would not be a wise decision to add any more depth to. Bonatini played for Wolverhampton last season and had a great run of form until hitting a dry patch from December 4th until the end of the season . Regardless of a massive dip in form, the facts are that Bonatini found the net 12 times for Wolves and assisted on six others. If Aston Villa could find a way to make room for Bonatini in any capacity, it would be worth bringing him in on loan. While it looks unlikely with such players as Jonathan Kodjia, Scott Hogan, Ross McCormack and youngster Rushian Hepburn-Murphy already trying to solidify time on the pitch, Bonatini would have some serious competition if he found himself at Villa. When the news broke of Bonatini being linked to AVFC, a massive number of Villa supporters displayed a heavy dislike for even the mere idea of taking on a former Wolves player. There is no question that Bonatini could be a game changing player when he is running on all cylinders, however.

The previous two examples of players linked to Aston Villa, a mere two weeks after the club was rumoured to be on the brink of administration, may signal that the finances of the club may not be as dire as we are all led to believe. There is definitely an overall feeling of ‘let us wait and see’ engulfing all of the Aston Villa supporters circles online. It is natural after the fallout from losing in the Championship Play-Off final exactly one month ago. While we all wait with baited breath and a feeling of wonderment for the next chapter of Aston Villa, it is definitely a good sign if Villa can still attempt to acquire quality players while in the ‘financial crisis’ that the media are portraying.

Words by Mark Jirobe (@VillaMarkPGH) // Follow us on Twitter @claretandview

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