Aston Villa: Which positions need strengthening?

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - MAY 07: Steve Bruce of Aston Villa during the Sky Bet Championship match between Aston Villa and Brighton
BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - MAY 07: Steve Bruce of Aston Villa during the Sky Bet Championship match between Aston Villa and Brighton /

We discussed Aston Villa’s transfer budget here. Owner Tony Xia and manager Steve Bruce have just £1 million in excess of player sales to work with this summer. So, which positions are exactly in need of strengthening?

Realistically, Aston Villa will not be able to add to every position group this summer.

That’s ok, because the last thing the club needs is more squad turnover. A summer of cohesiveness for the existing squad members will help Villa start quickly this August. As many as ten players may leave this summer; many of whom are last season’s out-on-loan members.

Steve Bruce could make 2-3 permanent signings with those departures. Moreover, sprinkle in 2-3 more loan signings and a free transfer or two and voila! One has a complete squad for a Premier League push.

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The first position needing settling is goalkeeper. Villa relied on Manchester United loanee Sam Johnstone since January. The Birmingham Mail reports the two sides are close on yet another season-long loan move. A second goalkeeper may also be necessary, depending on Mark Bunn’s future. Former Norwich City number one John Ruddy is a free agent, anyone?

Right back is firmly settled with three solid options from which to choose from: James Bree, Ritchie De Laet, and Alan Hutton.

Likewise, center back is covered at the moment. Though, the position could use added depth. Bruce will be keen to add one central defender if Tommy Elphick departs. Furthermore, this applies to left back if Jordan Amavi is sold this summer. An option to compete with Neil Taylor is necessary.

Defensive midfield is a must as Mile Jedinak enters year two. The 32-year old will miss matches through international duty and old age. Central midfield as a whole, however, is well covered.

Aston Villa could use one extra attacking midfielder/winger, but it’s not 100% certain they will bring one in. Barnsley man Marley Watkins left the club as a free agent. He had been linked with the claret and blues in January following a ten goal season. Maybe a reunion with James Bree and Conor Hourihane sparks his interest?

Lastly, another striker is critical after Villa finished 4th-lowest in goals scored in the Championship. To compound this problem, Jonathan Kodjia will miss at least the first six weeks following surgery for a broken ankle.

Next: Four strikers Steve Bruce should sign immediately

To recap:

POSITIONS NEEDED: #1 Goalkeeper, defensive midfielder, striker.

MAYBE: #2 Goalkeeper, left back depth, center back depth, attacking midfielder, winger.