Nottingham Forest have taken note of Aston Villa’s ongoing financial crisis and have already earmarked a move for the veteran fullback, Alan Hutton. The 33-year-old has run out of a contract with the West Midland side and is free to enter talks with interested outfits.
However, current reports claim that Steve Bruce is still keen on offering the Scotsman an extension but is unable to do so. He has been ordered to reduce the club’s wage bills from £33m to £15m this summer, which would mean letting go of some of his most prized possessions.
The Clarets and Blues could not get past Fulham in the EFL Championship playoff finals to earn a place in next season’s Premier League. This has spelt disaster for them as securing promotion to the top-flight would have added around £170m through television rights and advertisement.
Now, Bruce has to work his way around the restraints to set up an able squad for the 2018/19 campaign. Tony Xia has already suspended the club’s chief operative, Keith Wyness after a reported fallout over the unpaid £5m tax bill.
The Villa owner has been funding the side with £6m monthly payments from his own pocket to keep the club running but has recently found it difficult to pull money out of China. Now, Bruce has the distinct chance of getting left behind with nothing but a handful of academy players in the squad which could severely hurt the club’s chances of making a run for promotion next term.
Hutton is one of the names no manager would like to get rid of in the midst of a transition phase. The versatile fullback not only brings with him a solid defensive ability but also the experience of top-flight football.
He started out on his playing career with Rangers FC and was later signed up by Tottenham Hotspur in January 2008. He found it difficult to break into Spurs lineup with 66 total appearances in three years and was later traded off to Aston Villa in the summer of 2011.
Hutton got his first break at Villa in the 2014/15 preseason games and slowly established himself as the club’s first-choice right back. Now he has over 168 senior team games under his belt for the Championship outfit and has been capped 50 times for Scotland.
The 33-year-old is the very essence of consistency and can be relied upon to lead the team’s backline. He appeared in 33 games last season to help Villa finish the regular season in the 4th spot of the English second division.
Losing him could turn out to be a major blow after the departure of Axel Tuanzebe for Manchester United on completion of his loan spell.
Maybe after the herd has cleared, Bruce can offer the veteran a similar two year deal as the Foresters and convince him to finish out his career at Villa Park.
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