NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - APRIL 02: Jamie O'Hara of Wolverhampton Wanderers is challenged by Danny Guthrie of Newcastle United during the Barclays Premier League match between Newcastle United and Wolverhampton Wanderers at St James' Park on April 2, 2011 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Following the news from earlier this week that midfielder Jermaine Jenas is done for the season following achilles surgery, Aston Villa manager Alex McLeish revealed that he plans to ask Randy Lerner for the funds required to bring in a player during the January window. Today brings our first official rumor of the season: Mirror Football is reporting that Newcastle United midfielder Danny Guthrie will be a January target. In some ways that makes sense; Guthrie is the kind of player that Villa could probably use, a central midfielder that's good on the ball and has solid vision. At 24 his best years are still ahead of him, and since he will be available on a free over the summer the club could likely get him for cheap in the current window. Of course, there's one pretty major problem: Guthrie has a groin injury that could keep him out of action for six weeks.
Ordinarily, that might not be all that big of a deal. If McLeish likes Guthrie and feels like he could be a part of the future, better to get him in the club now for a test run before committing to him in the longer-term. But there's a pretty massive problem here: unless they end up selling someone (and most likely even then) Villa have the money to add one player in January. They need to be confident that whoever that player is can provide them with some dependability, at least as much as is reasonable. Injuries are impossible to predict and even players with clean histories can get hurt, but using your only available flexibility on a player that likely won't be healthy when you buy him is a really terrible idea. Even more importantly, the player is suffering from an injury that is notoriously difficult from which to recover in-season. Especially given that the player will be available on a free transfer in the summer.
There's just no way this would make sense. That doesn't automatically rule it out because Alan Hutton, but still. It's highly implausible. Under different circumstances, a player like Guthrie would probably be a great move. Under these, it would be far too risky. There are similar (and probably better) players that will be available on loan without the need to pay a transfer fee or the preexisting groin injury. Like most transfer rumors at this (or any other) stage, this one looks like spaghetti being thrown at the wall.