It has been a campaign of abject failure for Aston Villa. The players have looked disinterested, tweeted foolishly and been embarrassed on the field, whilst the management structure of the club has been falling apart quicker than one would have expected.
Tim Sherwood and Remi Garde failed to give the necessary boost to the squad, despite a plethora of 2015 summer signings. The club ultimately has not recovered from losing Ron Vlaar, Fabian Delph and Christian Benteke last summer, and why would they?
You tear the spine out of an XI and most teams would be struggling. Villans nationwide are left concerned for the club’s future. It could well end up in a happy return to the top flight like Newcastle, but the majority are expecting more of a Leeds-esque meltdown.
Only time will tell, of course, but it might not be quite as bad as everyone is making out, Villa fans.
Here are FIVE youngsters that could save you…
Aside from his penchant for a night on the lash, Grealish is known for being a very gifted footballer and could really make his name in the Championship next season.
His versatility will surely be a great bonus to whichever manager takes over, and he has all the talent to succeed at the top level. Keep him focussed, motivated and involved and Grealish could fire Villa straight back up.
Signed with all the ambition in the world, Traore has not started a league game for the Villans this season.
Having been brought in for his lightning pace and La Masia schooling, it is a surprise that he has not been given a significant run in the side at some point this season.
Still only 22, Amavi’s nasty early season injury sums up the fortunes of Villa this season.
If – and it’s a big if – they keep hold of Amavi this summer, he will be a great force in the Championship. The full-back has the pace to support the left-winger and the defensive nous to shut out the most tricky of forwards.
Admittedly, 24 isn’t exactly that young, but Ayew is still playing far from his potential.
One of the few players to come out of this season with an enhanced reputation, the forward has proven that he has an eye for goal despite playing in a team that has struggled to create a single clear cut chance per game.
A central figure for Lorient last season, Ayew is yet to really make his name as a leading star anywhere and a successful campaign in 2016/17 could be the next step for him.
Like Ayew, Okore hasn’t developed quite as everyone would have hoped he would.
His rock solid defending is aided by impressive pace and a rugby league build. A long-term injury meant that Okore never really got to build a formidable partnership with Ron Vlaar and the weight of defensive leadership will fall on Okore’s shoulders next season.
Clubs may well look to poach their Danish brute over the summer, as many will be aware of just how good he could be.