The most likely of Aston Villa’s deadline outgoings has finally been sorted with Gary Gardner heading to Barnsley for a season’s loan.
Villa fans will raise an eyebrow or two at the Barnsley official website’s description of the outgoing player as a ‘hard working, combative and talented midfield operator’, but will no doubt wish the player, who is contracted to Villa until 2020, all the best.
It’s Gardner’s sixth loan period, after previous loans at Coventry, Sheffield Wednesday, Brighton and a double stint at Nottingham Forest.
The Tykes boss, Paul Heckingbottom reckoned Gardner would give them “greater flexibility within the squad”, most notable though was him thanking Villa for “allowing Gary to come here.” Which may hint at some kind of generous deal on Gardner’s wages, although MOMS is purely speculating here.
With Villa’s squad leaning towards the flabby side, it will be important for them to try and offload another player or two in the final hour of the window to lessen any adverse influence on the team’s moral, caused by players simply hanging around and picking up sizeable wages ala the Bomb Squad under Paul Lambert.
Villa will need a sizeable squad to mount a promotion charge, but will the likes of Ross McCormack or Micah Richards actually make any contribution this season? The fact that Villa are strangled by their high wages may mean they’ll prove impossible to move on.