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Aston Villa transfer priorities


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Aston Villa transfer priorities: The players Steve Bruce needs for promotion

A 13th place finish in the Championship in 2016-17 shows the extent of the job at hand for Steve Bruce at Aston Villa, with a big summer ahead for the Midlands club.

The Villans boss has been vocal over his desire to clear out a lot of the current squad in the next few months, while a host of new men have been linked with a move to the club ahead of next season.

Given the amount of expenditure Villa have outlaid since Dr Tony Xia took over at the club, there will certainly be plenty of failed acquisitions and players surplus to requirements to leave the Championship side.

The likes of Ross McCormack, Jordan Veretout, Carlos Sanchez and Aaron Tshibola are just some of the names being linked with an exit across a huge range of football betting sites, which would provide funds and available spots for new faces.

Bruce will certainly have a couple of key positions in mind when looking for summer recruits.

Goalkeeper will be high on his priority list, with Sam Johnstone fulfilling the role in 2016-17 while on loan from Manchester United.

If Villa can tempt the stopper back to the Midlands that would surely be seen as a positive move, but other custodians such as Eldin Jakupovic, Logan Bailly and even Allan McGregor have been touted as targets.

A new centre-half would be a sensible purchase but it remains to be seen if Bruce will land one or stick with the players he already has.

While Chris Samba trains with the Midlands club in a bid to earn a permanent contract, Barnsley’s Marc Roberts and Bristol City’s Aden Flint continue to be linked with a switch to B6.

James Bree was signed in January to contest the right-back role, but talk of Bruce reuniting with Hull City wideman Ahmed Elmohamady for a third time in their respective career continues to do the rounds.

An exciting potential recruit named in the press of late has been Aaron Mooy, who has starred at Huddersfield Town while on loan from Manchester City.

With the Australia international unlikely to replace David Silva at the Etihad Stadium any time soon, the gifted playmaker has been touted as a possible Villa recruit - but he would come with a significant price tag.

A man at the other end of the pricing scale is Marley Watkins, who will leave Barnsley after his contract expires this summer and is a free agent.

While there are no shortage of reported suitors for the gifted and versatile winger, his addition at Villa would add pace and power to an attack that has misfired over the last 12 months.

Up front, it feels like Bruce has put all his eggs in Scott Hogan’s basket after splurging on the striker in January.

With McCormack on the fringes and Jonathan Kodjia to miss the start of the new season through injury, the Villa fans will hope the former Brentford hitman can find form.

There is certainly no reason that Villa cannot be fighting for promotion to the Premier League next term but Bruce has a lot of work to do this summer to streamline his squad.

If he can do this early in the window and the players get a solid pre-season under their belts, the Villa Park faithful will have hope that the team can hit the ground running in 2017-18.

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