By Wayne Veysey

25th Feb, 2020 | 4:00pm

Exclusive: Aston Villa to tell defender to find a new club

Aston Villa plan to offload James Chester when his contract expires in the summer, Football Insider can reveal.

The 31-year-old joined Stoke City on loan in the January window after being on the fringes of Dean Smith’s side in the first half of the campaign.

A Villa source has told Football Insider that the club do not intend to extend Chester’s contract and are ready to let him go at the end of the season.

That would bring an end to his spell at Villa, four years after signing from West Brom for around £8million.

Chester is way down the pecking order at his parent club despite their dreadful defensive record this season, which puts them at serious threat of an immediate return to the Championship.

Smith is in the market for a new centre-back despite sanctioning the big-money purchases of Tyrone Mings, Ezri Konsa, Kortney Hause and Bjorn Engels last summer.

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But the Villa manager is not set to turn back to Chester, who endured a tough time with injuries in the 12 months before his loan move to Stoke.

Chester has immediately settled into Michael O’Neill’s side as he looks to secure a place in the Wales squad for this summer’s Euro 2020 finals.

He has played the full 90 minutes in each of their last four Championship matches to reignite his career.

At Villa, he has made 126 appearances, including 28 league starts as they won promotion last season to the Premier League.

In other Aston Villa news, Alex Bruce has savaged Villa man signed for HUGE money by his Dad.