O'Neill: Villa stronger than last year

04 September 2009 01:12
Villa spent £40 million before the transfer window closed on Tuesday in capturing Stewart Downing (£12million), Stephen Warnock (£8m), Fabian Delph (£6m), Richard Dunne (£6m), James Collins (£5m) and Habib Beye (£3m).[LNB]And, even though O'Neill lost the services of key players in skipper Martin Laursen and midfielder Gareth Barry, he is confident Villa are equipped for the challenges ahead.[LNB]O'Neill said: "Am I happy with my overall business? I couldn't be more pleased. I think we have strengthened the side. It's been very pleasing indeed.[LNB]"I have got that extra defensive strength I was looking for plus Fabian Delph will be a really fine player for us - and Stewart Downing already is a fine player.[LNB]"When he is fit, he will add plenty to our squad. I think that Richard Dunne and James Collins will help us immensely. We looked a bit thin at the back.[LNB]"We used the fewest players in the league last year. That is something that we really wanted to address to try to keep players fresh.[LNB]"We've lost two really fine players in Gareth Barry and Martin Laursen. They will be hard to replace but in time we will get stronger."[LNB]O'Neill has also told left-back Nicky Shorey he has a future at the club after the collapse of his move to Portsmouth.[LNB]The former Reading player was concerned he would be frozen out at Villa after the arrival of Warnock and with Wilfred Bouma close to fitness after his lengthy injury lay-off.[LNB]O'Neill said: "Does Shorey have a part to play? Of course. I think Nicky and his agent pre-empted things a little bit by thinking he was not going to play.[LNB]"I had certainly not been pushing him out but something came up and they wanted to explore that. I gave them that opportunity but it didn't come off.[LNB]"Nicky wants to come back here and really fight for a place in the side. We have Warnock and then Freddie Bouma to come back so there's options which will be very important between now and January."[LNB][LNB] Barclays Premiership. Click here to bet.  

Source: Team_Talk