Darren Bent has suggested that Aston Villa will look to loan out a midfielder if they can complete the temporary signing of Ross Barkley.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, the former Villa striker delivered his verdict as Villa’s hopes of signing Barkley were hit by a fresh blow.

This site revealed that Barkley has told Chelsea that he wants to fight for his place and is not interested in joining Villa or Leeds United.

The 26-year-old has been limited to just 40 minutes of Premier League action from the bench this season.

However, he did start and score in the Blues’ 6-0 win over Barnsley in the Carabao Cup last week.

Asked by Football Insider whether Villa would have too many midfielders if Barkley moved to Villa Park, Bent said: “If he (Smith) plays Grealish and Barkley, what happens to McGinn? Because McGinn doesn’t want to hold.

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“They’ve got so many midfielders, they’ve got (Conor) Hourihane, (Henri) Lansbury’s still there.

“They’ve got so many of these midfielders but if you get the opportunity to get someone like Ross Barkley through the door, someone of real quality, you’ve really got to jump at the chance.

“Then maybe you could see one of their midfield players go out on loan because they’ve got way too many of these midfielders and they’re not all going to play.”

Aston Villa manager

Smith has lined up with a midfield three of John McGinn, Douglas Luiz and Conor Hourihane in both of Villa’s Premier League games this season.

McGinn particularly impressed in their 3-0 defeat of Fulham where the Scotsman picked up two assists.

In other Aston Villa news, Football Insider can exclusively REVEAL Portsmouth are chasing the signature of a 21-year-old who quit Villa this summer.