Aston Villa and Royal Antwerp are agreeing details of a loan to take Ritchie De Laet for the rest of the season. The right back has found appearances hard to come by and the opportunity to return to Belgium has arrived.
Ritchie De Laet has dropped down the pecking order with Ahmed Elmohamedy and Alan Hutton becoming the preferred full backs. Having only started three games this season, the defender needs playing time. 384 minutes of first team football has led to De Laet wanting to return to his home town.
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De Laet‘s first club was Royal Antwerp before heading to England and signing for Stoke. A loan period at Wrexham was followed by a transfer to Manchester United in 2009. In just over three years at Old Trafford, he was subject to four loan deals before finally moving to Leicester City where he won a Premier League winners medal.
The move to Villa Park was secured as part of Roberto Di Matteo’s newly assembled squad for the start of the 2016/17 Championship campaign. In only his third game for Aston Villa, De Laet injured his knee. Scans showed that several ligaments had been damaged and his season was over before it had began.
Opportunities to regain his match form have been limited for De Laet in 2017/18. Just one Championship start is not enough for the player to regain his fitness. Royal Antwerp are looking to bring the defender back on loan. Presumably, any loan deal may become permanent in the off season.
It is a shame as De Laet may have given Steve Bruce defending options. However, FFP issues would be a further benefit to see the Belgian leave Villa Park. The loan deal should be confirmed in the near future.