After pretty ludicrous reports saw practically every senior Villa player linked with a move away from the club after suggestions that Gerard Houllier had overhauled the rules at Villa Park, I took stock of all of those who have been touted to move on and those who are most likely to. Either way, pending the club avoid relegation (fingers, toes and hearts crossed) the summer is going to be a busy one for the Villa fans to look forward to, or dread depending on your perspective! Speculation arose that as many as eight players were looking elsewhere in a supposed revolt against the Houllier regime however, Brad Friedel, one of the aforementioned eight, has rubbished the talk since. The American is one of those perhaps most likely to leave in the summer with Houllier yet to offer the soon to be 40-year-old a new contract over age concerns. Saying that the club resigned Andy Marshall at the end of last week, the 35-year-old keeper who has never played a game for the club. In my opinion this probably means that Friedel will be gone with the club having already selected a veteran to help the youngsters at the club such as Elliot Parish, who recently joined Lincoln on loan.
So here’s a look at a full starting XI that could well be on there way out come the summer;
GK: Friedel (39) Villa Apps: 122
RB: Luke Young (31) Villa Apps: 78 (2)
CB: Richard Dunne (31) Villa Apps: 69 (3)
CB: James Collins (27) Villa Apps: 65 (4)
LB: Stephen Warnock (29) Villa Apps: 61 (1)
CM: Stiliyan Petrov (31) Villa Apps: 177 (8)
CM: Nigel Reo-Coker (26) Villa Apps: 114 (2)
CM: Stephen Ireland (24) Villa Apps: 13
RF: Ashley Young (25) Villa Apps: 179 (35)
CF: John Carew (31) Villa Apps: 129 (43)
LF: Emile Heskey (33) Villa Apps: 75 (13)
This list excludes the likes of Kyle Walker and Michael Bradley who both seem likely to return to their respective clubs for differing reasons, Walker is believed to be in Spurs plans for a starting berth next term while Bradley has failed to impress in his short spell at the club. The selection also doesn’t take into account the likes of veteran Robert Pires and Habib Beye, who like Friedel, are yet to earn a new deal at the club. Of the 11 only Ireland was not signed by Martin O’Neill, though he was singled out as a makeweight in the Milner deal under the Ulsterman’s regime, indicating a complete turnaround of the ethos under the ex-boss.
6 of the 11 are over 30, hinting that Houllier will be looking to exploit the club’s excellent youth system, which in my mind is a good thing, though the average age of the 11 is only 29.7 (28.8 if you exclude Friedel). In terms of the money that such departures would bring Villa fans may well be disappointed. Friedel, L Young, Reo-Coker and Carew are all out of contract at the end of the season while the rest could well go for cut-price deals due to contract circumstances (A Young) and disciplinary issues (Dunne, Collins, Warnock, Ireland)! I would estimate that for the entire XI, Villa would be looking for anything between £35m to £40m (my estimations only!)
Between them, the 11 have played 1112 time for Villa (an average of of 101 games each) scoring 111 (an average of 10 each). Obviously it is not likely that all 11 will be leaving the club at the same time, but it is certainly a possibility. With that in mind the fact that Villa’s youngsters have come on leaps and bounds is essential. With Guzan also a potential player to be sold, without any signings, Villa’s line-up could look a little like this!
PARISH; HERD, CUELLAR, CLARK, BAKER; MAKOUN, BANNAN, DELPH; ALBRIGHTON, DOWNING; BENT
So basically, I would expect at least 10 departures in all come next season, but on a more exciting note, as many new signings to boot! So who out of the 11 do you think will stay on, assuming Villa stay up and moreover, Houllier keeps his job? How do you rate the potential best starting XI who should still be at the club next season and who would you like to see join them?
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