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Aston Villa look as though they have eventually got to grips with the Championship and will be very hopeful of making at least the playoffs in April. To achieve promotion, a lot will depend on them having a good January transfer window, a time when keeping hold of certain players is as important as bringing in new ones.
Villa have had to face the rumours that start ‘keeper Sam Johnstone may be recalled by Manchester United, perhaps in order for them to sell him to Crystal Palace who are ready to put up the money in order to help their relegation clause.
Also rumoured to be leaving is Robert Snodgrass who appears to be wanted by Sunderland. The Black Cats may yet get a £10million windfall from the sale of Lamine Kone and could come up with ready money to take Snodgrass away.
Villa are one of several Championship clubs interested in bringing in Newcastle midfielder Jack Colback, Leeds being another, though reuniting with Steve Bruce may be a good move for the player but not so much for this club. Colback caused a little trouble in the summer at Newcastle when he first refused to leave the club and then refused to play or train with the reserves.
One thing is sure is that Villa need some new striking talent though and several front men have been mentioned in the same breath as the Midlands club.
Leonardo Ulloa of Leicester City seems to be the main target, though Danny Ings of Liverpool and Nahki Wells of Burnley are other potential targets. Ulloa would be the one who would make the biggest impact, with the Premier League winner having proven himself both at the top level in England and also in the Championship in the past when with Brighton and Hove Albion.
Ings is a big risk given his injury problems which have seen him regress somewhat, while Wells is also on the way backwards having gained promotion with Huddersfield Town last season only to be shown the door in the summer. Wells joined Burnley but is unable to break into their side and looks like heading back to the second tier.
In conclusion: a scenario which involves Villa keeping hold of Sam Johnstone until the end of the season and bringing in a new striker, maybe Leonardo Ulloa, would be a successful one for the club and may just make the difference between making the playoffs or not.