Premier League: Aston Villa injuries cloud Vlaar arrival

Richard Dunne and Gabriel Agbonlahor are out till late September

August started hectically for Aston Villa as they signed a player, sold one and lost two more to the treatment table...

"Villa are 2.3611/8 to return to the top half in 2012/13 after missing out for the first time in five years last season."

Showing a fondness for the Eredivisie that wasn't apparent during his time at Norwich, Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert completed his third signing from the Dutch top flight on Wednesday as Feyenoord centre back Ron Vlaar arrived for £3.2 million.

The Netherlands international, who lined up in two of his country's three misery-filled matches at Euro 2012, will fill the squad spot vacated by the departure of James Collins, who returned to West Ham for a reported £2.5 million.

Given that Collins wasn't at his best last season, it feels like a shrewd piece of business to replace him with someone 18 months younger yet possessing a greater amount of top-level experience for such a minimal difference in fees.

However, the positive vibes were sabotaged somewhat by the unwelcome news later in the day that two of the club's likely starters are suffering with injuries set to sideline them for the early part of the new campaign.

Richard Dunne is expected to miss between six and eight weeks with a groin problem dating back to his involvement in Republic of Ireland's disastrous Euro 2012, while Gabriel Agbonlahor is poised to be out for four or five weeks with medial ligament damage.

The duo started a combined 60 Premier League games for Alex McLeish last term, and though Agbonlahor contributed just five goals in his 32, his absence is probably the bigger blow due to the lack of attacking alternatives.

With Emile Heskey being released, the inexperienced Andreas Weimann and Nathan Delfouneso are the only other alternatives to Darren Bent, who himself might take a while to hit top form having last played competitively in February.

Lambert's additions to date have focussed on defensive (Vlaar and Matt Lowton) and midfield (Brett Holman - brought in by McLeish - and Karim El Ahmadi) deficiencies, so they arguably still require two more strikers if they plan to adopt a 4-4-2.

Villa are 2.3611/8 to return to the top half in 2012/13 after missing out for the first time in five years last season.

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