By Amir Mir

Joleon Lescott and Gabby Agbonlahor are heading for the Aston Villa exit door but defender Micah Richards remains in manager Roberto Di Matteo’s plans, according to a reliable journalist.

BBC Midlands reporter Pat Murphy announced on his personal Twitter account on Wednesday morning that there are difficulties for Villa in offloading senior pair Lescott and Agonlahor.

But Murphy expects the announcement of their departures to come “soon” from the club.

A third senior player in Richards, who captained the club for long periods last season, is set to stay on after impressing Di Matteo.

Centre-back Lescott, 33 signed from Midlands rivals West Brom last summer for £1.5 million, but now finds himself heading for the exit door with one-year remaining on his contract.

Agbonlahor, 29 is the club’s longest serving player, has been told he is unlikely to play for the club again following a series of disciplinary issues.

The boy hood Villa fan who scored only one goal last term has one-year remaining on his contract, after he was put on a fitness regime at the back-end of last season for being unfit and overweight.

However Richards, 28 who has three-years remaining on his contract, will be given the chance to play a role in Villa’s bid to return to the Premier League.

The Birmingham Mail reported that the versatile defender earns in excess of £70,000-a-week for the club, with Agbonlahor also on a similar salary.

Richards signed for then-manager Tim Sherwood on a free transfer last summer from Manchester City, but his performances tailed off when Sherwood was sacked in November.

Di Matteo is looking to trim his squad as Brad Guzan, Idrissa Gueye, Ciaran Clark, Scott Sinclair and Carlos Sanchez have already left the club.

The club’s highest earners expected to follow the path of Guzan and leave on a free transfer as Villa look remove the high earners from their wage bill.

In other Aston Villa transfer news, the club’s transfer shortlist is topped by this Premier League duo as manager Roberto Di Matteo considers other options.