Regardless of what happens this season, Villa will be looking for one thing in the summer – talent.
Players capable of either gaining promotion to the Premier League, or (if a miracle occurs) keeping them up there.
One way to get new bodies in the door is to raid the free agent market for experienced players, proven at the level Dean Smith is looking for.
Here are five players with contracts expiring in the summer, who could be on their way to Villa Park for absolutely nothing.
1) Gary Cahill
He wouldn’t be the first ex-Chelsea captain to make the move to Villa! Gary Cahill has fallen out of favour at Stamford Bridge, and still has miles left in the tank at 33 years of age. A veteran addition to the back four is what Smith has been crying out for this season, and Cahill could fill the void.
2) Leroy Fer
Linked to the club in the January transfer window, Villa fans will recall the excellent performance the midfielder put in at Villa Park in an otherwise forgettable third round encounter. Creative and physical, there’s not much more you could ask for in a central midfielder.
3) Shinji Okazaki
Restricted to a role off the bench with Leicester this year, the Japanese star still has the nose for goal at the age of 32. A handy striker to deploy in moments where they need a goal, Okazaki could be a savvy pickup for Villa.
Villa need a goalkeeper, and West Ham’s Adrian could be the answer. Despite being displaced in between the sticks at the London Stadium by Lukasz Fabianski, the Spaniard is a decent enough shot-stopper for a high-end Championship/low-end Premier League side.
5) Andrea Bertolacci
If Fer isn’t your cup of tea, how about a move for Andrea Bertolacci of Milan? The central midfielder has appeared just four times for his club this season, and would bring a great deal of experience to the Midlands at the relatively young age of 28. Numerous teams may chase the signature of Bertolacci, but don’t rule out Smith attempting to add some international pedigree to his ranks.
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