COMMENT By Will Butcher
Steve Bruce could oversee a last-minute transfer exodus in midfield after bringing three new central midfielders to Aston Villa.
The Nottingham Post claims Bruce has already allowed Aaron Tshibola to join Nottingham Forest on loan, after signing Henri Lansbury, Conor Hourihane and Birkir Bjarnason.
However, Tshibola might not be the only one to leave following Bruce’s new signings. Here are three midfielders that could jump ship following Bruce’s influx of January recruits.
The former Nottingham Forest star was one of Villa’s best performers earlier in the season, and continued that during Bruce’s first few games in charge following the sacking of Roberto Di Matteo. However, Gardner has featured just twice this month. Starting against Cardiff, Gardner was hauled off at half-time before making a substitute appearance against Preston. But with three new players coming in to his position, Gardner’s playing time is likely to decrease even more. The academy product should look to engineer a move before the deadline in less than 48 hours.
Similarly, the holding midfielder must maintain a level of consistency in his career by leaving the Midlands giants as soon as possible. The 26-year-old has taken a huge amount of criticism from the terraces at Villa Park this term, as he struggles to find the accuracy in his passing that had seen him star in the Premier League in recent years. With Bruce set to overlook his number 15 by starting any of his three new recruits in Westwood’s position, the former Crewe star should be offloaded.
Struggling with multiple injuries in the past year, 21-year-old Lyden is desperate for playing time to fully recover from his spell on the sidelines. However, the Australian midfielder is now unlikely to do that with Bruce’s side as the former Hull manager looks to return Villa to the Premier League at the first attempt. Sending Lyden out on loan to gain regular first-team football could allow the midfielder to catch the eye of Bruce from afar, and give him more of a chance in claret and blue upon his return.
In other Aston Villa transfer news, fans have reacted to the transfer of Tshibola to Forest just six months after signing for £5million.