Tuesday media watch [31.12.13]: Lambert targets experience
Birmingham Mail: Paul Lambert wants Villa to sign experienced players during the January transfer window. It represents a change in philosophy for the claret and blues, who have tended to recruit young up-and-coming hopefuls during Lambert's 18 months in charge. Ahead of the winter window opening on Wednesday, Lambert admitted for the first time his inexperienced squad could do with some more know-how and guidance. Other than Karim El Ahmadi, Ron Vlaar and Brad Guzan, 14 of Lambert's 17 signings have been aged 25 or under. Only Guzan had prior Premier League experience. Lambert revealed he has already identified one potential acquisition and is preparing to do permanent and loan deals during the window. But the Villa boss has added a note of caution by warning that January's recruitment drive will again be dictated by Randy Lerner's prudent wage policy.
Mirror: Paul Lambert has vowed to bring in experienced players to support his Aston Villa kids in January - if he can afford it. The Villa boss is desperate to add a bit of a know-how to his youthful side after they struggled in recent weeks. But he knows wages could be a stumbling block. The Scot said: "I'm trying to improve the squad. And if we can bring one or two in, whether that's permanent or loans, I will try. I've identified ones I will try to get them in, but we will have to see. "We might want to bring in one or two experienced ones to help the younger ones on the pitch. "You think experienced players might help you in certain areas of the pitch. But sometimes the salaries are ridiculous which I don't think this club will do again. That's the reality. If one comes up and everyone thinks it is right you look at it. "It's a challenge to go and find players but with top end ones the salaries are a bit high. "I had one today and I nearly fell off my chair - I put the phone down on that one! That's what you are working with, that's the nature of the game, it's too much."
Sky Sports: Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert has revealed he is looking to add experience to his squad and that he is working hard to bring in new signings. Lambert is keen to bring some experienced performers to Villa Park to help his youthful side along as he looks to end their slump in form. The Villa Park chief admits he has identified several targets, but concedes finances could be a problem for him to do the deals.
Express & Star: Villa boss Paul Lambert today revealed he is hunting experienced recruits in the January transfer window. The claret and blues chief has refused to rule out going into the market for older players in a surprise change of policy. Just two of Lambert's 17 Villa signings had Premier League knowhow - Joe Bennett and Brad Guzan, after he tempted the keeper back to the club. And Villa also plundered the foreign market over the summer, including splashing out £7m on Libor Kozak from Lazio, but Lambert is now eyeing proven players. "There's a case for experienced players," he said, ahead of tomorrow's trip to Sunderland with Villa 13th in the Premier League. "If a good player comes up and he's experienced you certainly don't dismiss it. "If they are good enough and have the right attitude and character you can never dismiss it."
FourFourTwo: Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert believes his side are in a healthy position heading into 2014. Lambert's men will begin the New Year having gone five games without a win in the Premier League. A failure to beat Crystal Palace or Swansea City in back-to-back home games last week led to frustration at Villa Park. However, Lambert is convinced Villa, who sit 13th in the table, still have reason to be optimistic. "We are three points off 10th. It's not all doom and gloom," said the Scot ahead of the New Year's Day visit to bottom club Sunderland.
Sky Sports: Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert is hoping to have Christian Benteke back for the New Year's Day match at Sunderland. Benteke has missed Villa's last three games due to a knee problem but trained on Monday ahead of the trip to Wearside. The Belgium striker scored 23 times during a stand-out debut campaign in English football last year but has struggled for form this season. He has scored just five goals - the last of which came in the 2-1 home defeat by Newcastle three months ago.
Goal.com: Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert believes his side are in a healthy position heading into 2014. Lambert's men will begin the New Year having gone five games without a win in the Premier League. A failure to beat Crystal Palace or Swansea City in back-to-back home games last week led to frustration at Villa Park, but Lambert is convinced his team, who sit 13th in the table, still have reason to be optimistic. "We are three points off 10th. It's not all doom and gloom," he told reporters. "It's how people want to portray it. I am certainly not a negative person. "People get carried away that just because you don't beat Palace it's an absolute disaster. I'm not going to feel really down because of Palace or Swansea. "We are not sitting not too bad in the table. That top half may be breaking away but there are 10 other teams fighting for everything.
Sunderland Echo: Villa boss Paul Lambert is optimistic about Christian Benteke's chances of being back in the team for tomorrow's match at Sunderland - and soon returning to his form of last season. Benteke, absent for Villa's last three games due to a knee problem, trained yesterday ahead of the Barclays Premier League trip to the Stadium of Light. The Belgium striker scored three goals in a 6-1 home league win against the Black Cats in April - among the 15 he netted for the midlands outfit in all competitions between January 1 and the end of 2012-13, and a total of 23 over the course of what was a stand-out debut campaign in English football. Things have gone less well for Benteke so far in 2013-14, though, with the five goals he notched in his first five Villa matches this term being the only ones he has to date for the season. Giving an update on the frontman - who has failed to find the net in the last 10 games he has played for Villa - Lambert said: "Christian trained this morning and looked okay."
Sunderland Echo: Gus Poyet will leave it late before deciding whether to involve Fabio Borini, Adam Johnson or John O'Shea in tomorrow's game against Aston Villa. Injury and illness have made the trio's availability doubtful. But the Sunderland head coach was hopeful that today might see big improvements in the health of Borini and Johnson in particular ahead of a New Year's Day game which could see Sunderland move out of the bottom three if they win it. Borini opted to start Sunderland's game at Cardiff on Saturday despite feeling ill beforehand and he paid the price when he was taken seriously ill at half-time and had to be hospitalised. Johnson did not make the trip to Wales after falling victim to flu and although he has improved he was told to keep away from the training ground yesterday in case he gave the bug to his team-mates. O'Shea, meanwhile, is struggling to recover from a shoulder injury sustained against Norwich on Saturday, December 21, which saw him leave the Stadium of Light with his arm in a support. But Poyet says none of the problems appear to be serious and he is hoping for good news.
Mirror: Shay Given is ready to stay at Middlesbrough for the rest of the season. The 37-year-old is still on Swansea's radar in the January transfer window. But with a dramatic Republic of Ireland recall on the cards, he needs to be playing regular football. And Given knows he will get that at Boro where he has been a revelation since signing on loan for a month in late November. Boro boss Aitor Karanka said: "Everybody is clear - I want to keep him, he wants to stay and the club is working for Shay to stay here. "The most important thing is Shay is happy here and playing and we hope he can stay here for the rest of the season."
Best of the Rest
BBC Sport: Wimbledon champion Andy Murray and former England captain David Beckham have been overlooked in the New Year's Honours list. The duo, who both have OBEs, had been tipped to be knighted.
Sky Sports: Romelu Lukaku is confident Everton will finish in the top four and insists they can even be contenders for the Premier League title. Everton go into the New Year in fourth spot after an impressive start to life under new manager Roberto Martinez.
BBC Sport: West Brom striker Nicolas Anelka has agreed not to use the "quenelle" gesture again when celebrating goals. Anelka, 34, made the sign - described as an inverted Nazi salute - after scoring his first of two goals in Saturday's 3-3 draw at West Ham.
*The extracts on this page are taken from various newspapers and media outlets. They do not necessarily reflect the views of Aston Villa.
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