Three players Aston Villa must target to replace in-demand James Chester
The Potters are understood to have made an initial £5million offer for the Wales centre-back but were rebuffed by the Villans. However, Gary Rowett’s side are expected to come back with an improved offer for Chester, which could force Villa’s hand into selling the defender.
It is no secret that the Midlands club are going through a bit of a financial crisis and are likely to face Financial Fair Play sanctions this summer, should they fail to generate as much as £40m-£45m. And with Chester being the first Villa player to attract a serious bid this summer, there is a good chance that he will be allowed to leave, should Stoke return with a higher offer.
And, if that does happen, here are three replacements for the 29-year-old that manager Steve Bruce and Villa can look to bring in.
Dan Burn (Wigan Athletic)
The 26-year-old has just a year left on his contract with the newly-promoted EFL Championship outfit and Villa should look to take advantage of that and make a move for him.
Burn joined the Latics back in 2016 and went on to win the club’s Player of the Year award in his debut campaign, impressing even as they got relegated to League One. The Englishman was an ever-present force as Wigan bounced back to earn a promotion, making as many as 53 appearances across all competitions in the 2017/18 term. In fact, his performance in the FA Cup victory over Premier League champions Manchester City earned him great plaudits.
With over 100 appearances in the English second division, Burn knows what is needed to cut it out at this level and has proven to be an able performer. And he would be a great cover/replacement for Chester at Villa.
Danny Batth (Wolves)
The Wolves defender may be the anointed club captain but he is unlikely to get a lot of playing opportunities for the newly-promoted Premier League outfit. After all, the likes of Willy Boly, Conor Coady, Ryan Bennett are all ahead of him in the pecking order. And Villa should lure him with the bait of regular playing time.
Batth made just 21 appearances in the Wolves’ promotion-winning campaign last season. However, with over 300 career appearances, the 27-year-old has gained immense experience and would also bring in his natural leadership abilities.
Robert Huth (Free Agent)
The 33-year-old is available on a free transfer after he left Leicester City, following the expiry of his contract. Huth, currently training with former club Stoke City, is a vastly experienced player, having represented the likes of Chelsea and Leicester, and is a three-time Premier League winner.
The German centre-back did not play a lot for the Foxes last season due to injury issues but with his know-how and natural defending skills, Huth would prove to be a great addition to the Villa side. The fact that he will not cost a dime in transfer fees should make the prospect of landing him quite attractive for Steve Bruce’s side.