Brighton And Hove Albion are joined at the hip with three other Premier League outfits for the signing of Aston Villa defender, James Chester. The Villans are realizing the lengths they will have to go to financially stabilize the club ahead of the 2018/19 campaign. Club owner, Tony Xia has been facing great odds to bankroll the club as well with the headache of an unpaid £5m tax bill still looming over Villa Park.
Steve Bruce 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 influential players. The Claret and Blues could not get past Fulham in the EFL Championship playoff finals to earn a place in next season’s Premier League.
The top-flight would have guaranteed around £170m through television rights and advertisement. Now, Bruce has to work his way around the financial limitations to put together a title-contending squad for the upcoming season.
Losing Chester could be a massive stumbling block but at the moment the 57-year-old might not have much choice. John Terry turned down a contract extension with the club after spending a season with them.
After Chester’s departure, the Villans will be left with only Tommy Elphick, Chris Samba and Micah Richards in the centre-back position. A very bitter pill to swallow especially since Bruce will not have much left over to sign an equally qualified replacement.
Chester played a huge role for the Claret and Blues in their chase for promotion last season. He joined hands with Terry to secure the backline in his 50 all around appearances. The 28-year-old also contributed with 3 goals and an assist on the offensive end.
He was signed from West Brom in August 2016 and still has 2 more seasons left in his current contract. Chester is a graduate of the Manchester United academy who has managed to make a name for himself in the Championship.
Prior to his time with Villa, the defender spent four seasons with Hull City to make 171 total appearances. Standing at 5 feet 11 inches tall, the Welshman also has been capped 31 times for his country.
Brighton needs a replacement for Connor Goldson for the upcoming season and Chris Hughton is ready to spend the necessary amounts after their successful Premier League survival attempt.
However, the following season will be difficult with just Lewis Dunk and Shane Duffy in the centre-back position. Chester has 60 games worth of top-flight experience and could easily fill in as a backup.
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