News and Views

Is the Tish coming home? A Villa fan's view

14 February 2017
By Villa Till I Die

Jack of Villa Till I Die investigates Aaron Tshibola's rather underwhelming first half-season at Villa Park. With the midfielder already sent on loan to Forest for the remainder of the 16/17 campaign, Jack wonders whether a return to the Madejski at the end of the season is on the cards.

It's fair to say our clubs haven't had much cross-over in terms of comings and goings in the transfer market. Nicky Shorey, who as you know, spearheaded Reading's 2005/2006 promotion to the top flight came to Villa Park in 2008 but was unable hold down a regular starting spot under then-manager Martin O'Neil. We also acquired the services of Steve Sidwell after his bench-warming 2007/2008 season at Stamford Bridge, but similarly, the English starlet failed to pull up trees over in the West Midlands.

With Aston Villa being a club barely-recognisable since the heady days of those top 6 finishes in the late noughties, it wouldn't be until last summer that our two clubs would cross paths again following the July 10th capture of Aaron Tshibola.

The 22-year-old arrived at Villa Park with very little known about him. After browsing Reading forums and blogs at the time, I remember getting the feeling that Tish certainly made his presence felt when he put on a Reading shirt. He played just 12 times for the Royals in 15/16 but his promising debut season got cut short after a rather unfortunate hamstring injury.

Operating mainly as a holding player, it seemed as though his so-called energy and enthusiasm to get around the pitch would stand us in good stead in a league which tended to reward guts and physical desire over technical showmanship.

But despite given a good run out in the side by ex-manager Roberto Di Matteo, the midfielder's equalising goal against Newcastle United back in September ended up being his only positive contribution in a Villa shirt. Not for a lack of trying, Tish just couldn't assert himself in Villa's midfield.

Under the weight of expectation from Villa's disillusioned fan base, RDM was in a race against time to find a starting line-up and formation which would help propel us back to the Premier League at the first attempt. But with Villa's starting 11 and tactics changing more frequently than the British weather, Tish along with many other players, never got settled in a team which itself, was never settled either.

Will he stay or will he go?

For entirely obvious reasons, his return to Reading hinges on their promotion prospects this season. Should the Royals not go up, given Steve Bruce's spending spree in the January transfer window which saw him bring in three new central midfielders, it would make sense for Tshibola to return to his former club and pick up where he left off before his injury in 2016.

After joining Nottingham Forest on loan along with disruptive teammate Ross McCormack, a good stint in a Reds shirt could tempt the club to sign him on a permanent basis at the end of the season. With Reading themselves enjoying a good season in the English second flight this year, many would argue that Tish's chances of getting back into Reading's team are slim anyway with the likes of George Evans and Liam Kelly performing well in the centre of the park.

Would you like to see Aaron Tshibola make a return to the Madejski stadium at the end of the year?

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