Monday saw the expected announcement that 32-year-old Austrian international, Andi Weimann, had joined Albion on loan from Bristol City for the remainder of the season. Weimann’s interview suggested that he had put pen to paper on Friday but, perhaps because the announcement had to wait for confirmation that the permanent transfer of Taylor Gardner-Hickman in the opposite direction was complete, the news wasn’t officially confirmed until Monday morning.
Given the club’s situation, this is a signing that can be placed in the “decent” bracket and we can only hope that it is more successful than the loan signing of Marc Albrighton last season. To be fair, the Austrian is younger and has played a lot more football this season than Albrighton had, even if he has been on the bench as often as he has started matches, and he also offers a lot more flexibility. In the past two seasons, he has played centre-forward, on both flanks and as both an attacking and defensive midfielder. While his goalscoring hasn’t exactly been prolific over his career, his best return of 22 goals in a campaign was as recent as 2021/22.
Weimann was City’s longest serving player outside those that had risen through the Robins’ academy having moved to Ashton Gate in the summer of 2018, and he is a popular figure at the club. However, with his contract up at the end of the season and little prospect of a new deal, the Robins have opted to get some value out of him for the last few months of the contract. There are suggestions that he was approaching an appearance threshold that would have triggered a 12-month contract extension at Ashton Gate and, with him likely to be one of the club’s top earners, it is probably a prudent financial decision for Bristol City.
For Albion, he is another much-needed body in forward areas and will hopefully be a positive influence in the dressing room offering a wealth of experience. He should be able to settle in easily as he still lives in the area, apparently close to Jed Wallace, having spent the bulk of his early career at Aston Villa. He also spent time on loan at Wolves although he will not be able to line up in the Black Country Derby next week having played for the Robins in their cup tie with West Ham United in round three.
Corberán is reportedly still looking for another player this window, potentially a more orthodox winger having already signed a more flexible option, but Weimann is on the books and could well make his debut at Carrow Road on Saturday.
Born: 5th August 1991 (age 32), Vienna, Austria
Signed: 15th January 2024, loan
From: Bristol City
Most of us remember Andi Weimann as an Aston Villa player and it was at Villa Park that he made his professional breakthrough having moved to Birmingham as a 16-year-old in 2007.
He was, however, born in Vienna, the Austrian capital, and joined FC Stadlau in Vienna at the age of 12 before moving to Austrian giants, Rapid Vienna, a year later. He has previously confirmed that he remains a fan of the 32-times Austrian champions.
Weimann made his professional debut as a substitute in Villa’s 3-0 Premier League victory over West Ham United in August 2010, a few days after his 19th birthday. Under caretaker coach Kevin MacDonald, he replaced Ashley Young with four minutes left. His second appearance was something of a mixed blessing. He must have been delighted to come off the bench at the Gerhard Hanappi Stadion, home of his beloved Rapid Vienna, in Villa’s Europa League Qualifying match, but he lasted just six minutes when an ankle injury forced him off and kept him out of action for more than four months.
On his return to fitness, Villa had appointed a new manager in the face of Gérard Houllier and the Frenchman opted to send Andi out on loan and he joined Watford for the remainder of the season. He scored on his first start for the Hornets in February 2011, the opener in a 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace. He finished that season with four goals in a struggling Watford side that managed just four wins in the time he was there slipping out of the play-off picture.
Weimann made another substitute appearance for the Villains (under his third head coach, this time Alex McLeish) in the League Cup in August 2011, registering an assist in the 2-0 win over Hereford United, before he returned to Vicarage Road for a second loan spell. He was due to stay until January but he was recalled after making just three appearances due to injury concerns at his parent club. He went straight into the squad for Villa’s Premier League match at QPR and came off the bench for the final five minutes.
After a handful of substitute appearances, the Austrian finally scored his first goal for Villa in March 2012, coming off the bench for the final 19 minutes of a Premier League fixture against Fulham to notch the stoppage-time winner in front of the Holte End. His first start came later that month against Chelsea and his second goal came a 1-1 draw against Stoke City at Villa Park. He made his first trip to the Hawthorns towards the end of the season, but he was an unused substitute in a 0-0 draw.
The following season was a real breakthrough for Weimann. Not only did he make 38 appearances for Villa, 31 of which were from the start, he also scored 17 goals and, in October 2012, received his first senior cap for the Austrian team. He has so far won 21 senior caps scoring once, in the Nations League match against France in October 2022.
In 2013/14, he only scored five goals but one of those was Villa’s first against Albion in January 2014 as the Villains came back from 2-0 down to win 4-3. By now, Paul Lambert was in charge at Villa Park, Weimann’s fourth Villa boss and, by the end of the following campaign, he had been replaced by Tim Sherwood and Andi found opportunities more limited.
He left Villa Park in the summer of 2015 to join Derby County for an undisclosed fee rumoured to be in the region of £2 million. Early in the season, Weimann was a regular in the Rams’ front line under Paul Clement scoring his first goal for County in a 3-0 win over Rotherham United at the end of October. After Clement was surprisingly sacked in February despite being in the play-off places, Weimann was once again out in the cold under a new boss. He would make only five substitute appearances for the reminder of the campaign under Darren Wassall although he started in the second leg of the play-off semi-final against Hull City when Derby were unable to overturn a 3-0 deficit from the first leg.
The following campaign was equally frustrating under yet another new boss, Nigel Pearson, who himself was replaced by Steve McLaren who had only left Pride Park in the summer that Weimann joined. He was then sent out on loan to Wolves to link up again with former Villa boss, Paul Lambert. He scored twice in 21 appearances while at Molineux.
Back at Pride Park for the following campaign, he had another new boss to play for in the shape of Gary Rowett, and found himself back in favour making 35 starts that season scoring five goals including one against Villa who had been relegated to the Championship in 2016. Further upheaval at Pride Park after another unsuccessful play-off campaign saw Frank Lampard come in and Weimann head out, joining Bristol City for an undisclosed fee.
He was an instant hit at Ashton Gate under Lee Johnson scoring on his debut against Nottingham Forest and notching a total of five goals in his first five games. It was something of a flash in the pan, however, and he ended the season with ten goals, three of which came courtesy of his first career hat trick in the Robins’ 3-2 win at Bramall Lane in March 2019. He was a regular at City however, if not a prolific scorer but he suffered the second major injury of his career in October 2020 when a cruciate ligament problem saw him ruled out for nine months.
The break did him good, however, and he returned to the team for the start of the 2021/22 season and had the best scoring campaign of his career as he hit 22 goals, including another hat trick, this one at home to Millwall in January 2022. He also claimed a goal and an assist in City’s 2-2 home draw with the Baggies in March.
Last season saw him given the armband for the first time against Preston North End in October 2022 but he was appointed club captain last summer and has been named captain for each of his nine starts this season. For this campaign, he has been playing more in midfield than as a forward and has scored just once, in the 4-1 win at Vicarage Road on Boxing Day.
|Wolverhampton Wanderers (loan)