Aston Villa supporters are already bracing themselves for Jack Grealish’s potential departure from the Villa midfield, but it doesn’t look like he’ll be the only one.
First off, there’s a lingering doubt over whether Birkir Bjarnason will fancy being squad filler again, after the way he was frozen out of the team last season despite some impressive performances in the second part of the season.
The anger he seemingly demonstrated that spurred him to score his outlandish goal against Wolves at Villa Park, after coming on as a sub, suggested his true frustration despite anything he’s said publicly since.
Missing out on the Play-off Final, yet being good enough for the World Cup will no doubt play in his mind over the coming weeks.
Villa boss Steve Bruce always preferred Glen Whelan and Mile Jedinak in front of Bjarnason, despite the Icelandic international proving himself to be the more mobile DM.
The Icelandic midfielder, now 30, will certainly be keen to be a first team player next season and after a decent enough World Cup for Iceland, he’d be a player that could attract interest, especially abroad.
Aussie Move Rumour
In Australia, reports on SBS suggest another one of Villa’s World Cup men, Mile Jedinak is in the process of firming up a move overseas.
SBS reported the move will be outside the leagues of Italy, France, Spain and Germany, making the potential destination of Turkey a likely option. Jedinak spent a couple of seasons in Turkey before first venturing into English football by joining Crystal Palace.
Getting Jedinak’s Villa wage – around the £30k-a-week mark – off the books would no doubt be welcome from a FFP point of view.
Villa have options at DM, so could arguably afford to lose Jedinak (and Bjarnason), with Glenn Whelan or a deeper Henri Lansbury able to cover. It’s not ideal, but maybe it could force Bruce to be less conservative and defensive with his midfield?
Unless Bjarnason has filled in at DM, it’s been a very rigid role in Bruce’s Villa set-up, with the player rarely venturing over the half-way line. Maybe a more conventional midfielder with licence to also go forward would suit more.
With question marks over Villa’s centre-back situation, especially if James Chester leaves, Jedinak’s big loss maybe in not being classed as a centre-back option. It’s standard to have four centre-back options in a squad and Villa could struggle in that department with John Terry and Chris Samba now departed.
With Jedinak turning 34 in the first month of the new season and in the final year of his Villa contract, the Socceroo captain will no doubt be looking to add a year or two more to his club playing career, after committing himself to the international team for another couple of seasons. So, it would be likely, when also considering the club’s situation, to see him move on this summer.
Whether Jedinak leaving creates an opportunity at Villa for Bjarnason, or whether he joins the exodus, remains to be seen.
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