Aston Villa may be fighting for promotion at the moment from the Championship but Steve Bruce, the manager will also have to start planning for the future. They had a rather mundane January transfer window but the Villains have enough quality to compete with the best and move to the top tier, come the end of the season.
However, not everything at Villa Park is going according to plan. The manager has to add some fresh faces to give the squad some impetus next season if they end up getting promoted but he will also have a tough time keeping star players at the club beyond the next summer.
One such player, who might not be at the club come the start of the next season is the veteran defender Alan Hutton.
The 33-year old is a backup full-back for Bruce for more than a season now but reports suggest that they will not be able to offer him a new deal unless they are promoted. Hutton is out of a contract at the end of the season and the manager has recently spoken about his team’s chances of retaining the defender.
“I had to be honest with Alan and told him at this stage we’re not in a position to offer anybody a new contract,” Bruce said in an interview. So how big a blow is Hutton? Should they offer him a new deal even if they progress to the top flight?
The FFP has been a hindrance for many a clubs in England recently and Villa are the latest to fall prey to it. The Championship outfit cannot offer any of their star players a contract extension unless they sell a few or get promoted. If they remain in the second tier, Villa will have to let go of a few more players, other than Hutton, which will be a big blow for the club.
Having made 128 appearances for the West Midlands outfit since joining them back in 2011, the former Rangers star is one of the most experienced full-backs in the Championship at the moment. He can play on either flank and has been effective whenever called upon into the first team.
He is tailor-made for the English game and has been in productive form at both ends of the field. Though not directly responsible, he has played a huge role in Villa’s decent form this season, covering for both Ahmed Elmohamady and Neil Taylor, who are the first choice full-backs at the club.
But at 33, he does not have too many years of football ahead of him and even if Villa do break into the top flight, they should look to sign a first-choice full-back, pushing the 30-year old Elmohamady into a backup role.
Hutton’s experience can still be useful but will not be too huge a loss, if they can replace him with the right man. But do you think it will be a blow for Villa if they lose Hutton?
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