By Graham Hill
VILLA will have a decision to make this summer when it comes to deciding who stays, and who leaves.
They will have seven players out of contract, including high earning Micah Richards who is completely out of the picture at Villa Park.
Richards is sure to exit the club this summer – but what of the rest.
Much depends on where Villa are playing next season. If they can pull off promotion through the play-offs then boss Dean Smith has a decision to make.
At present, several players are on limbo.
Glenn Whelan looked like he could be leaving Villa Park at the age of 35. But his performances in recent weeks suggest the Irish midfielder has plenty left to offer – and he is back in the Republic squad under Mick McCarthy.
Smith clearly likes Andre Green as he recalled him from his loan spell at Portsmouth as soon as he could.
Green has repaid that faith with an equalising goal in the famous comeback against Sheffield United as well as being a regular in Snith’s squad.
Mile Jedinak is also approaching the end of his deal and the 34-year-old Aussie could be let go as he is unable to force his way into the starting line up at present although he is a regular on the bench.
Fans’ favourite Alan Hutton is also approaching the end of his deal and at, 34, again, age might not be on his side.
Tommy Elphick’s injury could not have come at a worse time as the ex-Bournemouth defender is looking to earn a new contract at Villa Park. He still might get the chance to impress if he regains full fitness before the end of the season and – hopefully – a play-off campaign.
Keeper Mark Bunn is also a free agent this summer, and he has slipped down the pecking order with the injury to Orjan Nyland and with Jed Steer earning a new one-year deal.
Add to that the loan deals for Tammy Abraham, Tyrone Mings, Axel Tuanzebe, Kortney Hause – who could make his permanent – and Anwar El Ghazi and we could be looking at a very different Villa squad in August.