Di Matteo: Four Aston Villa players to leave and more to follow in major clearout

By Tom Blackburn

Roberto Di Matteo has insisted there could be an exodus of players at Aston Villa this summer.

The new boss plans to trim Villa’s squad despite Charles N’Zogbia, Kieran Richardson, Janoi Donacien and Lewis Kinsella already being released.

In an interview with the Birmingham Mail, Di Matteo suggested there will be more departures in the hope of building a tight knit squad.

“First of all when I analysed the squad I think we have too many players, the squad is too big so I will certainly look to trim the squad,” said Di Matteo.

“I will try to identify the right players for this season that will give us an edge and improve the team in many aspects. Physical aspects, technical aspects and also the human aspects.

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“It’s important that we create a group of individuals that work as a team. I think that’s vital that we have a good, united team on the pitch.”

The Midlands club were relegated last season after an abysmal campaign that saw them finish 17 points adrift of safety, at the bottom of the Premier League.

New owner Tony Xia officially took over the club yesterday, and claimed he would make Villa a top-five club within five years.

Xia has pledged to spend big money to make sure that happens, but Di Matteo clearly believes the recipe for success also lies in a group that can bond.

On Wednesday, Football Insider reported that Aston Villa had agreed a £3million fee for Bournemouth defender Tommy Elphick.

In other Aston Villa news, Leeds are attempting to hijack their bid for Elphick.