Aston Villa’s stint in The Championship this season has certainly not been a dull one. After Dr Tony Xia appointed Roberto Di Matteo as the club’s new manager he only gave the former Chelsea boss until October before deciding that it was time to change direction and that direction was that of Steve Bruce.
Bruce is viewed as the expert of getting out of this division with the former Manchester United Defender completing the task on no less than four occasions. If he is to make it number five with Villa this season then they could do with a new faces to enter Villa Park once the transfer window reopens in a couple of weeks time.
With automatic promotion looking out of reach Villa will have to look at promotion through the play-offs if they are to make a quick return to the top flight. Admittedly they have some ground to make up but it’s not a position which is out of reach and some new signings in January could very well give the squad a fresh impetus. Let’s now take a look at three players who could be making a move to the West Midlands
One player that Aston Villa are reportedly lining up a bid for is Arsenal’s Carl Jenkinson. The 24 year old spent two season on loan at West Ham although the second of those was curtailed due to a serious injury back in January which saw him return to his parent club for rehabilitation.
And it looks as if Jenkinson could be ready for another loan stint but this time the Right Back will have to be ready to drop down a division if he is to regain first team football. After returning to full fitness, he was handed an Arsenal return in their EFL Cup Quarter Final tie against Southampton.
But unfortunately for the former Charlton Athletic man it wasn’t a return that won any rave reviews and it may well bring his long term Arsenal future into doubt. Arsene Wenger is now ready to once again let him ply his trade elsewhere to allow him to get some more regular game time and hopefully improve the players currently fragile confidence.
Another new face that could enter Villa Park by means of a loan signing is that of Sam Johnstone. The Manchester United Goalkeeper has been identified by Steve Bruce as the player to ease their concerns in that area and it is believed that this is a deal that the former Sunderland boss wants to complete as soon as the window opens.
The 20 year old is yet to grace Old Trafford in a United shirt but he has had a litany of loan moves in what has been an already busy career thus far. Scunthorpe, Walsall, Yeovil, Doncaster Rovers and Preston have been lucky to have Johnstone’s services at one time or another and now it looks as if you will soon be able to add Aston Villa to that list.
Although a route to first team football at United seems still a long way off this is a player who is very highly rated not just at Old Trafford but within the England youth setup. Johnstone has already represented his country from Under 16 to Under 20 and it will only be a matter of time before he adds the Under 21’s to his list of international representation.
Signed by Glasgow Rangers to much fanfare in the Summer it’s fair to say life North of the border was not quite what Joey Barton expected. A stint playing for Rangers which was mired in controversy and one that saw the former Manchester City midfielder’s services no longer required by the club as early as November this season.
With Barton now a free agent he will be looking for a new club to call home and that home could very well be Villa Park. Although if Villa are to capture the signature of the one time England international they are going to have to battle with Barton’s former club Burnley where he is currently training in a bid to keep match fit.
Although Villa are a division below Burnley they are arguably ahead in the pecking order when it comes to capturing the 34 year old. After leaving Burnley, Sean Dyche will have to weigh up if the return of Barton is something that is top priority as the Turf Moor outfit look to stay in the top flight this season.
And if Dyche feels that perhaps after seeing Barton depart in the Summer that it’s not worth the potential baggage that a return could bring that could give Villa a clean run at obtaining his services. Where Joey Barton is involved there is always a circus not too far behind but he does have experience of getting teams out of The Championship and that is exactly what Steve Bruce is looking for. So perhaps the drama that Barton will bring to Birmingham will be worth it in the long run.