Roberto Di Matteo has this week hinted at the cuts that he plans to make to the squad. With a few more players to come in, there is going to have to be a fairly substantial number of players whose time at Villa has come to an end.
With the signing of Gollini, I would be surprised if both Guzan and Bunn stay at Villa. If I were a betting man I would say Guzan is the more likely to leave. In recent years Bunn is the more used to sitting on the bench and there is nothing to suggest he will not be content with that role again. Guzan, on the other hand, has recently secured the USA number one spot and will want to keep that so first team action is crucial for him. I expect him to move on.
It’s difficult to know if Jed Steer will stick around.
I was sure that Amavi would be off. I feel he is probably, in the grand scheme of things, too good for the second division in England but if he is happy to stick it out I am delighted. I think he could be a crucial player.
Similarly, I was expecting Okore to go. Someone who was linked with Chelsea and playing in the Champions League just a few years ago may not be happy in the Championship.
In terms of players I think ought to go, I would be happy to see the end of Lescott. Once a great player, he was painfully bad for much of last year and made a few miscalculations off the pitch as well.
Baker and Cissokho, both of whom spent large chunks of last year away from Villa Park, may both want first team football. With Elphick signing and Amavi and Bennett possibly one and two at left back, these players may be shifted.
I would expect Gueye, Sanchez and Veretout all to leave. I don’t think any of them will want to be at Villa and there are a few more signings to be made, we are told.
I would like to see Gil stay and think this could perhaps be a season for Gardner to prove himself after gaining lots of experience at Championship level.
I think many of us would like to see the back of Bacuna. Obviously, we don’t want to leave ourselves with a shallow squad but I also expect Traoré will be off.
Petrov will probably not get much game time but I am happy to have him around.
Sinclair is rumoured to be off, something I would not be too disappointed with.
Gestede should hang around as he has proven how good he can be at this level.
Ayew is another want away and, while I don’t hate him, I wouldn’t be too sad or surprised to see him go.
Dr Xia has suggested another striker could be on his way in so watch this space.
Whilst he has become very unpopular I would keep Agbonlahor around. If he can rebuild his relationship with the team and fans he could be an important part of a promotion season.
Whatever happens, I have been encouraged by the signings made so far as a good spine is being established. Bring on promotion!