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Aston Villa are willing to listen to offers for centre-back Tommy Elphick, with rivals Birmingham City appearing interested, though they are fully expected to be rebuffed by their neighbours.
The Wearside club are willing to let Lamine Kone go for around £7million and see Elphick as the ideal replacement for him at the back. A formal bid would be coming soon from the Stadium of Light, no doubt.
Elphick was signed by Villa in 2016 from Bournemouth and initially had a great start to his Villa Park career. However, since the arrival of Steve Bruce, things haven’t quite gone to plan. Just 20 starts is not what is required for a player at this stage of his career, which is what he was afforded last season. So with the arrival of John Terry in the second city, his time looks to be up.
The player is thought to be carrying an injury at present, which has curtailed his involvement in Villa’s pre-season programme. As long as it is nothing serious, this will not stop the two main contenders placing bids to secure his services.
This level is perfect for him and at 29, he is hitting his peak as a centre-back. He has skippered Bournemouth in the past and knows how to lead a back line perfectly well. The answer to the question of which club is better for him is not an easy one to answer though.
Leeds, you may think, have a better chance of promotion and so that sounds like a no-brainer. But their future ascension is far from guaranteed and they have a solid enough centre-back pairing already in place, in the collective shape of Liam Cooper and Pontus Jansson, meaning breaking into the side is no foregone conclusion.
Sunderland seem like a club on the slide rather. However, he would walk into their side at present and as long as he protects himself contract wise, he may find this as the better option. Guaranteeing himself a place in the starting XI at this age and showing himself as the leader of the defence must be the more intriguing option for him at this stage of his career.
Assuming both clubs can offer the sort of money and stability he is looking for, it would be no surprise to me to see him turn up in the North East very soon at Steve Bruce’s former club.