Summer Signings: What can we expect from Tonev?

10 June 2013 10:23
Has Lambert found another gem?

Not many people in England would have heard of Aleksandar Tonev before he signed for us. The first thing I did when I heard about the rumour, as I usually do, was go on Youtube to check him out. It's all well and good looking at his highlights, but has he got the qualities to be a success in England?

At twenty three he fits seamlessly into Lambert's philosophy of bringing in young, hungry players with a point to prove. From his interview on the official website he appears confident. When asked what sort of a player he is, he simply said that we will have to wait and see and he'll show us next season.

We have to keep our expectations realistic however as it might be easy. He wasn't necessarily first choice at Lech Poznań for the whole season and his best position is perhaps not yet established. He can operate on the wing or behind the centre forward, much like N’Zogbia and Holman.

His attributes seem well suited to our objective of playing vibrant football which we saw in fits and starts last season. His main assets appear to be his pace and the fact he “hasn’t got a dominant foot” as Petrov put it. He isn’t afraid to shoot from distance, and has scored some screamers for Bulgaria and Poznan, with both feet. No doubt, his eagerness will lead to exasperation among fans when some of his shots go wide of the mark, but this is inevitable. Admittedly, I haven’t seen enough of him to see if he’s an intelligent player with his passing and movement, something I don’t think Albrighton has in his locker. This will be my concern for Tonev also, as a combination of his raw attributes and intelligence on the pitch is not common.

What would be a successful season for Tonev? Maybe more than twenty starts? Five to ten goals or assists? It would be difficult to say, but he does have an eye for goal with a hat trick for Bulgaria already on his CV. I think if he can establish himself in the team we’ll be looking at a positive impact in my opinion, as I don’t think he has a guaranteed starting role secured by any means.

Not every one of Lambert’s signings will triple in value, but this does appear another shrewd bit of business at £2.5 million. Whether Tonev is a better alternative to Holman, competition needed to spark N'Zogbia's Villa career to life, the end of Albrighton, or another option in the three man attack remains to be seen. This signing may pale into insignificance in comparison to what happens during the rest of this window in terms of incomings and outgoings, but it’s a promising start.

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Source: Villa Mad