SAN FRANCISCO - AUGUST 04: Sergio Canales #16 of Real Madrid celebrates after scoring against Club America of Mexico during a pre-season game at Candlestick Park on August 4 2010 in San Francisco California. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
This one has been making the rounds for a few days now, but it's gathering some steam today with the Birmingham Mail and numerous other more trustworthy sources reporting that Aston Villa have shown interest in bringing Real Madrid youngster Sergio Canales to Villa Park on a season long loan deal. Canales was transferred to Real Madrid from Racing Santander (where he was a regular at the age of 19) but was unable to find a place in Jose Mourinho's team last season, making just 12 appearances and staring only three games. It seems unlikely that Canales has a real future at Madrid under Mourinho, despite his undeniable ability and promise; still, Real won't be willing to part with him while his value is at a low point, and so a loan move makes a lot of sense.
From Villa's perspective, this is a team sorely lacking in creativity and needing some serious upgrades to the attacking midfield to compensate for the loss of Ashley Young (and possible loss of Stewart Downing.) Alex McLeish also looks to be working on a limited budget this summer, and while his squad needs more players capable of providing service to Darren Bent (and nabbing a goal or two themselves from time to time) those players tend to cost a lot of money on to buy. With all of the other needs-outside backs, defensive mid and goalkeeper springing immediately to mind-it's hard to picture Villa bringing in more than one attacking player permanently. Canales is likely above Villa's head in terms of caliber where a permanent move is concerned, but he could be a tremendous help in the short term in a cost-effective manner.
And to me, that's the bigger point here. I don't expect this move to happen (though it's far from implausible) but I do believe it's being pursued to some degree by the club and I think that's encouraging. This is exactly the kind of move I'd like to see Villa making this summer; there are too many holes on the squad to buy the players to fill all of them, but Canales could offer more next season than any player in Villa's price range with the only outlay being wages and a loan fee. Remember the impact Kyle Walker had last season? Canales can do that-and more-for the attack, and without doing a whole lot to prevent McLeish from making other moves. There are those that don't care for loan deals because of some sort of negative association with clubs that take players on loan, but to me that's silly. Aston Villa have a limited amount of financial resources and they should go about making improvements in the most efficient way possible. Win next season and the money will be there' Sergio Canales is the kind of player that can help you win next season.
This would be a very smart piece of business for the club. This is definitely a transitional period for Villa, but there are ways to make it happen smoothly. Pursuing young, talented players in need of regular playing time is one of them. Hopefully Villa are able to make something happen with Canales, and hopefully it's a strategy they continue to pursue.