Villa bosses deny rift with angry Garde

Aston Villa manager Remi Garde.
Aston Villa manager Remi Garde. PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Remi Garde's rocky relationship with Aston Villa's recruitment team has reached breaking point, with his anger at their failure to sign Mathieu Debuchy leading the Frenchman to publicly reiterate that he is considering his future as manager.

The trouble surfaced when he held talks with Debuchy, the Arsenal right-back, in the middle of last month. He got involved in an argument with sporting director Hendrik Almstadt, who was unhappy that he seemed to have been sidelined from the negotiations.

Almstadt and Paddy Riley, the head of recruitment, deny that there was a clash.

The deal collapsed when Villa would not pay the £1 million (S$2.04 million) loan fee to Arsenal, leaving Garde angry because Debuchy would have joined the club for family reasons as the club is nearer to his home. Instead, he moved on loan to Bordeaux.

Villa ended the transfer window without a single new player. They failed to sign Lovre Kalinic when the goalkeeper could not get a work permit and Seydou Doumbia, who preferred to move on loan to Newcastle United, their relegation rivals, from Roma instead.

Villa might have been willing to push the boat out on signings had the team beaten Leicester City and West Bromwich Albion after the victory over Crystal Palace. But two draws left them nine points from safety before yesterday's match against Norwich at Villa Park.

Some felt that the gamble on spending money was not worth taking. Garde, however, believes he was promised funds and now wants assurances about the spending plans this summer before he will commit for next season.

"I came here for something that is still going on and I am not going to change my mind now," said the Frenchman, who signed a 31/2-year deal with the Premier League club in November.

"After that, we will start another project and another season and every manager has to look at whether he fits the project in front of him.

"The transfer window was the time to think, 'Am I OK to stick with this project, with this manager and with this football club or not?'

"There will be the time for everybody to see how it's going over the summer."

THE TIMES, LONDON

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on February 07, 2016, with the headline 'Villa bosses deny rift with angry Garde'. Print Edition | Subscribe