It has recently become very apparent that Manchester City are going to be offloading a number of players in the summer transfer window. I have narrowed the list of players rumoured to be on their way out of the club down to just four who I feel would suit Villa and who I think Villa fans would love to see wearing claret and blue next season.
First on this list is a name that Villa fans everywhere know very well: Gareth Barry. Barry’s contract is due to expire in the coming weeks and he will be available on a free transfer. The former England international is now 33 years old and has a world of experience – something that our current squad is desperately in need of. The midfielder is known for remaning very calm and collected on the pitch and would be able to pass on his priceless knowledge of the game to the likes of Ashley Westwood .
Barry spent over ten years at Villa Park playing first team football from 1998-2009, after being brought in as a trainee from Brighton and Hove Albion in 1997. He was also given the role of club captain and featured in what was arguably our best team of recent years- a team that went on the UEFA cup run under Martin O’Neill in 2008.
Next on my list is Joleon Lescott. The powerful centre back has found himself out of favour at City and more often than not is found warming the Etihad Stadium’s bench. Lescott is currently 31 years old and, like Barry, would be able to pass on a wealth of knowledge to some of our younger defenders such as Clark and Baker. He’s a local lad who was born in Birmingham and his family still lives in the area. The former Everton defender grew up as a Villa fan, which would give him an extra incentive to play well for the Villans if he were to join the club.
Micah Richards is another City defender who has also found himself out of favour under Manuel Pelligrini. The strong, pacey full back is now 25, although it seems like he has been around for ever. Yet again, this is a player with plenty of experience desperate to get more playing time in order to jump-start his England career. In my honest opinion, Richards could walk into our squad. I’m a fan of Matt Lowton but if you put the two side by side there’s no comparison. The full back’s contract with Manchester City expires next summer so this is going to be the Manchester club’s last chance to cash in on him.
The final name on my list is another one that Villa fans will know well – James Milner. The versatile midfielder has already had two successful spells at Villa: spending a season on loan from Newcastle United in 2005-06 before making a permanent move to Aston Villa in 2008. He eventually left to join City in 2010. Milner has spent a lot of time recently, for both club and country, playing out wide when he is naturally a central midfeilder and is at his best when playing in a central role. Rumours are rife that Milner is going to be handing in a transfer request this summer and he has just one year remaining on his contract.
I know many of you will be thinking that there’s simply no way we could afford all these players’ wages – at least not while Lerner is still looking to sell the club. However, who knows how quickly we might be sold and who may buy Aston Villa Football Club? It may even be a case of money being no object. We’ll just have to wait and see. In the meantime, quality players must be added to the squad to avoid another season of struggle.