Aston Villa linked with a move for Premier League free agent
Robert Huth is gathering interest from a host of Championship clubs.
Derby County – managed by the German’s former Chelsea teammate Frank Lampard – and Middlesbrough – where his old Stoke boss Tony Pulis currently resides – have both been mentioned as potential destinations.
Now, according to the Daily Mail, Aston Villa could be a possible candidate.
Experienced centre back Huth, 33, is a free agent after he was released by Leicester City at the end of his contract this summer.
Alongside Wes Morgan, he struck up an impressive partnership as the Foxes defied the odds and lifted the Premier League trophy in 2015-16.
Following the arrival of Harry Maguire, though, Huth’s chances in the first-team waned dramatically.
In fact, he didn’t appear once last season, in any competition, due largely to injury problems of his foot and ankle.
Now Huth is preparing to take his next venture into football, and the Championship appears to be a likely destination.
Berlin-born Huth, who has 19 caps for Germany, played previously for Boro between 2006 and 2009. He won the Premier League twice under Jose Mourinho during his spell at Stamford Bridge, and made more than 150 appearances in a six-year spell at Stoke under Pulis.
Villa, about to tighten their belt because of the Financial Fair Play restrictions in place, still need to find a way of recruiting this summer.
The contracts of John Terry and Chris Samba are expiring now that the season is over, and while the former has confirmed his exit already, Samba is also likely to leave.
That would leave James Chester as the club’s only senior centre-back – and even he is the subject of interest from Premier League clubs after the club’s failure to achieve promotion back to the Premier League.
A reported bid
Aston Villa have reportedly received an offer totalling £15m for Jack Grealish from Tottenham Hostpur.
Grealish, 22, played 31 times for Villa last season and played a significant role in their run to the play-off final.
Even at the Wembley show-piece itself, though the claret and blues fell at the final hurdle Grealish stood out among his teammates.
Having missed out on promotion, and the need to slash the wage bill at Villa Park this summer because of Financial Fair Play now desperate, Grealish’s Villa future is in doubt.
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Tottenham, who have been credited with an interest in Grealish already this summer, have now tested Villa’s resolve by making a bid of £15m, according to Sky Sports.
Mauricio Pochettino has a knack of developing young players; Dele Alli has broken into the England set-up during his time under the Argentine. Former Villa loanee Josh Onomah is another hoping to make the step up.
Grealish, who has also attracted the interest of Manchester United and Chelsea this summer, may need to part company with their academy product and boyhood fan after a turbulent few weeks.
Since the play-off final defeat, there have been plenty of negative developments at B6; chief executive Keith Wyness has left the club, and they have faced a winding up order over an unpaid tax bill following the cashflow problems of owner Tony Xia.
The EFL have confirmed they are in discussions with Aston Villa regarding their current financial crisis.
In a statement released to BirminghamLive the Championship’s governing body said they would help embattled Villa ‘where appropriate.
News that EFL chairman Shaun Harvey had requested a meeting with the club broke on Tuesday night.
It was reported that Harvey will request a business plan from the club and will seek reassurances that they can fulfil their financial obligations.
But today’s statement struck a co-operative tone.
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The league told BirminghamLive: “The EFL is in dialogue with the Club and will offer any practical assistance, where appropriate.”
The fallout of Villa’s failure to win promotion is well-documented.
On the field players sales are anticipated, there is uncertainty around Steve Bruce’s position and the budget for next term.
While off it former CEO Keith Wyness has left the club and is taking them to court, while owner Tony Xia faces a difficult summer meeting the club’s financial obligations.
Former Aston Villa attacker Jordan Ayew could be set for another crack at the Premier League, according to reports.
Sky Sports News claim Fulham, who beat Villa to promotion last month, have made an £8m offer for the Ghana international.
The 26-year-old has suffered two relegations in the past three seasons – first with Villa in 2016 and last season with Swansea.
He ended both campaigns as the clubs’ top scorer – bagging 11 for the Swans last term, and has been the subject of speculation ever since they went down.
Ayew joined Villa from Lorient in 2015 and played 58 games and scored ten goals in the 18 months he spent at the club.
He was sold to Swansea in January 2017 in a deal that brought Neil Taylor to Villa Park – and looks set for another move.
Alan Hutton is being targeted by Aston Villa’s Championship and Midlands rivals Nottingham Forest this summer.
Right-back Hutton, who filled in at left-back for a significant chunk of Aston Villa’s ultimately fruitless promotion chase last season, is out of contract now that the end of the campaign has arrived.
The Scot, who is now 33, has made over 150 appearances for Villa since arriving in the summer of 2011 under Alex McLeish – despite being loaned out to three different clubs in that time.
One of those sides was in fact Forest, who – the Nottingham Post are now reporting – want to bring him back to the City Ground on a permanent basis.
Aitor Karanka is even willing to off Hutton a two-year contract to switch allegiances ahead of the new campaign.
Forest are in the market for a new full-back as they prepare for the departure of former Villan Eric Lichaj, who is heading north to Hull City.
Villa are needing to significantly trim their wage bill this summer, to comply with Financial Fair Play restrictions, having missed out on a return to the Premier League.
While Hutton had hoped to remain at B6, it remains to be seen whether the claret and blues are in a position to offer him an extended stay.
“I can confirm to you now we will be talking to him next week, whichever division we are in,” Bruce said, during the week building up to the play-off final. “He deserves it.”