By Matt Farr
Aston Villa boss Steve Bruce admits he must address the balance of his squad in next month’s transfer window.
The Villa Park chief revealed the club can expect both arrivals and departures, but ultimately, the focus will be on getting the calibration of his squad right.
This will be Bruce’s first opportunity to put his own stamp on the Villa squad, having inherited it from Roberto Di Matteo in October, and the former Hull boss feels that it is too top-heavy with strikers.
Bruce has as many as six strikers at his disposal – including outcast Libor Kozak, who has played just 75 minutes of Championship football this term.
Kozak is likely to be among the faces heading for the Aston Villa exit next month, alongside Rudy Gestede, with Villa in talks with Middlesbrough over a possible transfer.
Bruce told the Birmingham Mail: “We were third from bottom 12 or 13 games ago so we’re up to a heady ninth – onwards and upwards.
“It’s the Championship, in the 13 games since we’ve arrived we’ve got 25 points.
“But we need to improve in the second-half. We need to have a better balance to the squad and its difficult in January, really difficult.
“I’m under no illusions. The balance of the squad is not quite right. There’s been a lot of changes. That’s why I’ve got the job.
“Let’s hope we can add a few. We’ll definitely lose a few I would have thought. We’ve got six centre-forwards so in that respect we have to get the balance of the squad right and hopefully we will.
“I’ve probably got to sell one to bring in another defender or midfielder.”
Any transfer business Bruce does next month will be in a bid to seal their immediate return back to the Premier League. They finished bottom of the league last season under Remi Garde, but Bruce has the opportunity to take his side back at the first attempt.
Bruce may also consider bringing in another striker, with lead goalscorer Jonathan Kodjia and Ghana international Jordan Ayew set to depart for the Africa Cup of Nations – as well as Gestede’s potential departure.
One player who may not be leaving Villa Park, however, is full-back Jordan Amavi. According to club owner Dr Tony Xia, the club rejected a £25 million offer from an unnamed club for the left-back’s services.
In other Aston Villa news, Football Insider reveals three reasons why this 32-year-old star deserves a new deal at Villa Park.