By Frank McAvennie

24th Oct, 2021 | 5:00pm

El Ghazi exit from Aston Villa in January 'wouldn't surprise me' after source's £18m update - pundit

Aston Villa may need to sell first-team stars in January after a summer of heavy spending.

That’s according to former Villains striker Frank McAvennie, speaking exclusively to Football Insider after an update from a well-placed source.

A recruitment source told this site on 19 October that Villa are willing to let El Ghazi, 26, leave in January if suitors Roma meet their £18million asking price.

The Italian giants failed to reach an agreement to sign the Dutchman in the summer after preliminary talks were held.

El Ghazi, who has two years remaining on his Villa contract, has not started any of his side’s last six matches in the Premier League.

Villa went on a spending spree in the summer after Jack Grealish left the club for Man City.

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Leon Bailey, Danny Ings and Emi Buendia all joined the club for substantial fees.

McAvennie claims Villa may still be out of pocket after the damaging and costly affects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Listen, it wouldn’t surprise me if there were sales,” McAvennie told Football Insider correspondent Ben Wild.

“It’s probably needed after the summer. I’ve not done the sums but Villa spent a lot of money.

“I know the Grealish money came in but there was still an outlay of transfer funds.

“It was during the pandemic too, so those losses have to be taken into account.

“It wouldn’t surprise me at all if players went in January.”

Villa lost 3-1 to Arsenal on Friday night.

This result left Dean Smith’s side 13th in the Premier League table.

In other news, pundit hails “great news” from John McGinn after Sky Sport’s Aston Villa latest.