Having signed several players relatively soon after the end of last season things have been quiet throughout July with regards to bringing any more new faces to Aston Villa. And, with the Christian Benteke situation finally resolved, manager Paul Lambert is beginning to turn his attention to offloading several players who find themselves out-of-favour.
With little prospect of first-team action for the likes of Darren Bent, Shay Given, Alan Hutton and Stephen Ireland next season speculation has been rife, linking them with moves away. So far, Villa’s attempts have been unsuccessful, with Lambert, along with the Villa hierarchy, keen on moving them on as they are amongst the highest paid players currently at the club.
Recent reports have linked Given with newly promoted Championship side Doncaster Rovers, with
After an indifferent start to last season Given was replaced in goal by Brad Guzan, and such was the form of the American he became the established first-choice, thus limiting Given to appearances in the two domestic cup competitions. As he looks to let Given go, Lambert has already signed Jed Steer from Norwich City to act as next season’s understudy to Guzan, and has acknowledged that the 37-year-old needs to be playing regular football.
Doncaster have also been linked with a loan move for Ireland, who did not make a single appearance after January’s Capital One Cup exit to Bradford City. However, Dickov denied that Rovers had made an enquiry for 26-year-old, saying: “Stephen’s not been mentioned. People are putting two and two together with Shay and possibly with Stephen being a friend of mine, but there’s been no approach made for him.”
Bent has interested Fulham and Newcastle United this summer, but the interest from both clubs has cooled somewhat. He, like Given, was another victim of Lambert’s early season transition from experience to relative inexperience, despite beginning 2012/13 as captain.
Hutton’s opportunities under Lambert have been much more limited, with not a single appearance in the 18-man squad in any competitive match. He had spells on loan at Nottingham Forest and Mallorca last season, making a combined total of 24 appearances. And according to the
Daily Telegraph, Hutton is poised for a return to the Spanish club, who were relegated last year, on a season-long loan.
The shirt numbers allocated by the club for next season also give an indication of who is in Lambert’s first-team plans, with Given assigned No.35, Bent No.39, Ireland No.40, and Hutton No.41, emphasising the lack of action they will see should they remain at the club.
Winger Charles N’Zogbia’s days may be numbered, after being given shirt No.36, while midfielder Barry Bannan appears close to a move to Blackburn Rovers, after a fairly stop-start Villa career, impressing sporadically but never establishing himself as a first-team regular, finding chances increasingly hard to come by under Lambert.
See what the expert tipsters are tipping on OLBG