‘They have greater aspirations, and it would be interesting, yes’. First up, I’m paraphrasing because I’m not wading through all the rubbish on NewsNow to find the couple of articles that actually bothered with what was a quite interesting (and rare) quote from the man himself. Secondly, what a ringing endorsement that is for Aston Villa Football Club.
Thirdly, if anyone from the midlands has made it this far, this article isn’t set up to have a go at Villa or any of Charles’ other potential suitors. Afterall there’s very little wrong with any of Villa, Everton, Sunderland or Newcastle. They’re all decent clubs and are all, in one way or another, bigger than Wigan Athletic.
Perhaps most importantly a quick look at oddschecker is all you need to know that, before a game is played, people think that they’re way more likely to be in the Premier League this time next year. This freedom from the paranoia of a relegation battle at day one can do wonders for your aspirations but does it do anything to help them become more realistic?
I guess the bookies would say yes but, when you’ve got five teams at Evens or better to finish in the top four, “more chance of finishing in a European spot” can still carry the caveat “but it’ll be a miracle if they do”. All power to their arm and that, but these clubs are further away from the standard set by Man United, Chelsea, ManCity or Arsenal than Latics are from the standard they are setting. Forget the top four even, they’re a fair distance off Liverpool and Spurs.
Ok, each of these clubs represent a good career step for some of our players, but do they for Charles N’Zogbia? Which takes us back to the original point about aspirations and what his are. You’d think he’d want to be playing regular European and International football and with the likes of Malouda, Ribery and Nasri floating around in similar position the two probably go hand in hand.
I don’t think that it’s disrespectful to say that Villa (or Everton, Sunderland or Newcastle) are not going to be able to provide regular Europa League football for the foreseeable future, let alone a tilt at the Champions League but the question remains whether Charlie is that good.
The Wigan Athletic benchmarks, as far as wingers go, over the last few years are Garry Teale and Antonio Valencia. I think it’s obvious that we can safely leave Garry to chasing paper up at St. Mirren on the assumption that he’s not going to be bothering N’Zogbia any time soon, but Valencia is another matter.
They’re largely different players and played in very different systems but for their effect on and contribution to the Latics team over their time at the club Charlie at least matches Tony. I had my doubts about whether the Ecuadorian would fit in to a top four side, but he has done so with open arms, not just with his application, but with his ability. Charlie has ability in spades and is possibly more incisive but maybe it’s the first part of that equation that lets him down.
When Fergie looked down the East Lancs at Antonio he saw a hard working lad who kept his head down and got on with the job. For one reason or another, through his, his agents or someone else fault, N’Zogbia comes across as a stereotypical moody Frenchman. How close that is to the truth is anyone’s guess, but it’s a fair bet that, without his current reputation, another Scotsman would have been knocking by now. But, without his reputation, we may never have seen him in a Latics shirt.
I suppose in the end, I don’t know. A bit like when Lee Cattermole went you wonder how close those real big clubs are to showing an interest in Charles, whether a move now moves his ability to make that step up a couple of years back down the line, potentially taking his international chances with it. Unlike Cattermole, this is the right time for the club to move the payer on, a new contract would cost us too much money and this represents our last chance to get some money for him.
So whilst his going to Villa doesn’t feel right there’s no point in getting het up about it. We’ve had a good two years out of him and the size of his contract means that was about all we were ever going to have. Villa are a step up, but let him worry about whether it’s a big enough step up. If nothing else it’ll free your time up to start complaining about how Bobby is spending the £9.5m.
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