By Amir Mir

Jordan Veretout has claimed Aston Villa kept him on the sidelines at the back-end of last season to avoid paying an appearance add-on fee to his former club FC Nantes.

The 23-year-old midfielder, who is now on-loan at Ligue 1 outfit Saint-Etienne, joined the Midlands giants in the summer of 2015.

But the French midfielder suffered a wretched first season in England’s top-flight, as Villa were relegated to the Championship in humiliating fashion.

Veretout played 29 games in all competitions, but did not feature again for the then-Premier League club after the sacking of Remi Garde in March.

The Villa loanee has now made astonishing claims about his parent club, in an interview in his homeland, as quoted by the Birmingham Mail.

“They told me they didn’t do it on purpose, [on not playing a single game for the last two months]” said Veretout.

“But when you are a sub, there’s only one midfielder on the bench, me, a midfielder on the pitch gets injured, and they bring on a forward, you can only question the decision.”

Championship outfit Villa, who are now under new ownership, were sold to Chinese Tycoon Tony Xia in the summer, after the much-criticised Randy Lerner put the club up for sale.

In the summer there were a number of high-profile departures at the club, with former Chief Executive Tom Fox and head of recruitment Paddy Riley sacked as a result of the club’s relegation.

During his short stay at Villa Park, Veretout failed to score a goal in 29 games and provided only five assists in all competitions.

In other Aston Villa team news, the club’s midfielder has admitted he is unsure as to where his future lies.