Defeat against Arsenal brought down the curtain on what has been a disastrous season for all connected with Aston Villa. The harsh reality of life in the Championship next season can now begin to sink in. Whilst there remains an air of uncertainty regarding the clubs off field future, the fans can begin to speculate towards which players will remain at B6 next season.
It would be easy to suggest that following such a poor showing this season that each and every member of the squad should be shown the door. However, such was the shocking display of the team this year; it will be increasingly difficult for the club to move many of the players on. That said, here are five players who Aston Villa should above all else, look to move on during the summer transfer window.
1) Joleon Lescott
At 33 years of age, Lescott’s best years are far behind him and his first season at Villa Park has been an all round disaster. Signed from local rivals West Bromwich Albion, Lescott was billed as the lifelong Villa fan that would bring his winning mentality from his time at Manchester City and provide much needed experience in the squad.
Things got off to a poor start when Villa Collapsed on Lescott’s debut and threw away a two goal lead to Leicester City and eventually losing the match 3-2. That capitulation coincided with a run of results which would see manager Tim Sherwood lose his job. This run of six defeats included a home defeat to Lescotts former side West Bromwich Albion at Villa Park.
West Bromwich Albion manager Tony Pulis has built a reputation for his sides being defensively strong and difficult to break down. For many, the sale of Lescott was seen as a surprise; to others however it signalled alarm bells. Why would Pulis be so willing to let a key player from the previous season join his clubs local rivals? It quickly became apparent that it was a good piece of business on the part of West Bromwich Albion.
Lescott’s positioning, reading of the game and lack of pace have been a cause of grave concern this season. It is in stark contrast to a player whose consistent performances for Everton, engineered a £22 million move to Manchester City, where he would win two league titles an FA Cup and a League Cup. In addition, Lescott’s time at City saw him represent England at Euro 2012, where he was arguably one of England’s standout performers.
Lescott has a history of persistent knee injuries. In 2003 he missed the whole of Wolverhampton Wanderers inaugural season in the Premier League and the knee problems would resurface again at Manchester City. Injuries have clearly taken their toll and the decline in performance has been somewhat alarming.
For many Lescott’s attitude, conduct and off field antics are enough reason for the player to be moved on. Lescott relationship with the clubs supporters has worsened throughout the season. Firstly, Lescott made headlines for the wrong reasons following a FA Cup clash with Wycombe.
A substitute for the day, Lescott was seen playing keep ups with a piece of chewing gum with Goalkeeper Brad Guzan and exchanging expletives with supporters. A month later Villa suffered a humiliating 6-0 defeat at home to Liverpool and Lescott tweeted a picture of a luxury car hours after the match. Lescott would claim the post was an accident but his apologies did little to improve relations with supporters.
When the clubs relegation was finally confirmed against Manchester United, Lescott described the moment as “a weight off the shoulders”. These comments angered Villa fans and brought about public criticism from former players Stan Collymore and Paul McGrath.
Lescott’s final appearance of the season saw him replaced against Arsenal due to injury. There was no rapport shared with the supporters who have made their feeling towards Lescott clear for some time.
By the time the new season starts, Lescott will be on the brink of his 34th birthday. With his best years clearly behind him and relations with the fans at an all time low, it seems that for all parties concerned, a parting of the ways is the sensible solution.
Lescott’s remit was to provide the club with experience and improve a defence which had been leaking goals for a number of seasons’. In contrast, Villa have broken a series of club records for consecutive defeats, goals conceded and Lescott has more than played his part in this demise.
Talk of a move to the MLS was at large during the January transfer window and that may be the ideal destination for Lescott to end his career.
Click Page 2 below to see the next player Villa should get rid of next season.