By Alex Stevens
Flop midfielder Aleksandar Tonev has been named by supporters as the worst player in the club’s entire history.
Football magazine Four Four Two identified left winger Tonev as the most hopeless player to ever wear the Villa kit in its rundown of supporter-voted flops from each club in England’s top four divisions.
The 27-year-old joined Villa in the summer of 2013 from Polish high flyers Lech Poznan for a fee of £2.7million but he had a miserable season in the Midlands, before an equally wretched campaign on loan at Celtic.
Tonev, who has accumulated 25 full Bulgaria caps, then left Villa for Italy in 2015 and his is now plying his trade for Italian second tier club Crotone.
“Tonev arrived at Villa Park with a recommendation from countryman and Villa legend Stiliyan Petrov, plus the customary YouTube video of him scoring goals from miles out,” the Four Four Two report read.
“Sadly, what Villa got was a midfielder who couldn’t tackle, pass or cross. The shots which had bothered Bulgarian nets now either flew over the bar or dribbled forlornly past the post. Not that it stopped Tonev attempting them from 40 yards whenever he’d found his way onto the pitch.
“Villa won just two of his 17 league appearances, and he was farmed out on loan to Celtic for the next season. Tonev endured an equally unhappy time north of the border after he was handed a seven-match ban for racially abusing Aberdeen full-back Shay Logan.
“He’s currently on the verge of being relegated to Serie B with Crotone, having achieved the same feat with Frosinone last season. Aleksandar the not-so-great.”
Villa have moved down a division since Tonev’s time but they are currently on an impressive sequence of results, including a victory against struggling Wigan on Saturday, their fifth in six matches.
But Bruce’s team have little hope of securing a place in the play-offs, as their improved form has only taken them to 12th in the Championship table, 11 points adrift of sixth-placed Sheffield Wednesday with eight games remaining.
Villa are next in action on Saturday week against Norwich at Villa Park as they aim to keep their faint play-off hopes alive.
In other Aston Villa news, a defender has quit Villa Park and already agreed terms with another club.