Sorry Aston Villa, but you are
not fourth class for Europe

Aston Villa need to prove their ambition this summer and spend more money in the transfer market.

If Martin O'Neill's side were to finish fourth and claim a Champions League place, they would have to find plenty of cash for new players to compete with the best.

But even if they come up short, they still need funding to keep them knocking on the door of the top six. Villa have surprised me and can be proud that they have answered the doubts of their critics who said they would fade at the end of the campaign.

Too short for fourth: Villa need to spend big to be Champions League contenders

Too short for fourth: Villa need to spend big to be Champions League contenders

They have bounced back from the disappointments and controversies of defeats in the FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea and the Carling Cup final against Manchester United.

What they have achieved this season would almost be considered good enough but all credit to the players, they have kicked on and made a real fist of going for fourth spot.

So much so that a win today at Manchester City could see them take their race for fourth to the wire.

It should be a phenomenal game and how Marton Fulop performs could make the difference. You can't expect to get one of Sunderland's reserve keepers on loan and expect him to be better than Shay Given.

Losing the Irishman is a big blow for City and I expect Villa to come away with a point. But snatching that last Champions League place will be just beyond them.

It would be an unbelievable achievement if they could do it, but I think they will come up short. Despite everything good Villa have done this season, they are still two or three players away from being a really strong side.

I look at their squad compared to those at City and Tottenham and they haven't got the same quality.

Villa are not equipped for the Champions League and if they don't continue to invest and add to what is there in the summer, then next season could see them finish eighth or ninth.

There is a feeling among some supporters that O'Neill will move on in the summer. I am sure he wants to stay, but unless the club show their commitment to keep going forward they may end up losing him.

They need another striker, could do with a little bit more in the middle of the park and it is imperative they hang on to James Milner and Ashley Young.

City are already better equipped than Villa for the Champions League but they will go ballistic in the transfer market this summer. It will probably be serious money, too.

City are at the point where they might want to entice a couple of serious superstars.


Robinho was supposed to be one of those and came with a big reputation that he didn't live up to. Carlos Tevez is a big name too but I can see them adding to their squad with someone at the peak of his powers; a player to change games.

And if they finish fourth I think there is an outside chance they could even have Jose Mourinho as their manager next season.

If they have a genuine desire to make an impact in Europe it is something that might appeal to the Portuguese.

Then they really would be a force to be reckoned with.

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