COMMENT by Amir Mir

Football Insider gazes into a crystal ball and predicts the Aston Villa team for the opening campaign of the 2017/18 season.

Another season in the Championship beckons for Aston Villa despite adding 17 players to their squad since their relegation from the Premier League last summer.

It is fair to say that the plan to make an instant return to the top flight has not come to fruition as Villa require a period of stability over the summer.

Steve Bruce could add a further two more players to his ranks when the transfer window re-opens in five months’ time by adding Tom Huddlestone and Alex Smithies to his team.

Additionally, loaned out playmaker Carles Gil might be persuaded to stay at the Midlands club upon his return in the summer and help Villa make that much-needed return to the promise land.

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Moreover, players that could potentially head for the exit door are Jordan Amavi, Alan Hutton, Tommy Elphick and Albert Adomah.

This could see another small tweak in Villa’s starting XI as Bruce aims to find a winning formula in his currently struggling side.

Striker Scott Hogan could be tasked in starting up front with the trio of Andre Green, Conor Hourihane and Gil providing the service.

It means Jonathan Kodjia may be used as a backup option by Bruce which would more than certainly strengthen Villa’s attacking options.

Furthermore, Hull City midfielder Huddlestone could be heading back to the Championship in the summer with his struggling Tigers team.

As a result, Bruce might pounce on the chance and reunite with one of his former players who would add quality and experience alongside the combative Mile Jedinak.

The back four could consist of players currently at the club, but it may result in three players being sold by the manager in the summer.

Elphick, Amavi and the out of contract Hutton could wave goodbye to their careers in the Midlands.

Between the sticks, Bruce could opt to bring some much-needed experience in QPR man Smithies as it is likely he might not extend the loan deal for current goalkeeper Sam Johnstone.

In other Aston Villa transfer news, why Tony Xia should bring John Gregory back to the club.

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