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Having come through the ranks at Reading, midfielder Aaron Tshibola raised plenty of eyebrows during his loan spell with Hartlepool United two years ago and attracted interested from clubs all over, eventually signing for then Premier League side Aston Villa.
Having arrived with a big reputation, Tshibola started off well and even scored against eventual champions Newcastle United in the second tier in England before things started to unfold. He was loaned out to Nottingham Forest in January where he made just 4 appearances in the Championship.
This season, Tshibola has been farmed out once more, to League One side MK Dons where he has made 15 appearances so far. He received a red card against Bradford City last weekend but it appears Dons managers Robbie Neilson wants to put him back in the side after his team’s poor performance at Portsmouth last time.
Having cost Villa around £5million, Tshibola has been described as a ‘price tag victim’ by some, while others think his performances and attitude have simply not been good enough. It appears things have once again not been going too well since he joined MK Dons.
As of now, Tshibola simply hasn’t lived up to expectations, even in League One, and at 22, time is running out for excuses to be made. The general consensus is that he goes missing in games and does not appear to be committed to the cause.
Part of the reason why Villa don’t know what to do with him though is that nobody can quite peg what sort of player he is. He had his one outstanding game for MK Dons playing as a box-to-box midfielder but has not gone on from that game to build on the performance.
He has also played in a variety of other central midfield roles for the Dons but has appeared lazy and uninterested, though he is still very much a part of the League One squad based on potential alone.
Interestingly, there was some online chatter from MK Dons fans regarding a goal given away at Peterborough. Tshibola gave the ball away on the edge of the box leading to the goal, only for Robbie Neilson to lambast his two central defenders which the fans saw right through.
The manager also defended him after the Bradford game where Tshibola was sent off within five minutes. Neilson is clearly eager to show off his own man-management skills by improving Tshibola between now and the end of the season.
Villa have made plenty of mistakes off the field in the last few years, with this buy clearly being one of them. I’d say they need to write him off, as the player is appearing uninterested in playing football. He is under contract until 2020, but any fee they get for him at all in the summer should be taken just to get him off their wage bill.