Is a summer cull exactly what Aston Villa need?

Martin O’Neill has declared that he plans to make wholesale changes to his Aston Villa squad in the summer by selling six fringe players to generate transfer funds.

The six players that are said to be up for sale are: Habib Beye, Curtis Davies, Nigel Reo-Coker, Nicky Shorey, Steve Sidwell and Luke Young.

Beye only joined the club in the summer from Newcastle United but has found first team opportunities hard to come by due to the impressive form of Carlos Cuellar and Luke Young being next in line for the right back slot.

Curtis Davies is probably the player that fans will want to see leave the least. Still a very talented centreback, Davies has been unable to hold down a regular starting spot this season, much to the form of Richard Dunne and James Collins. The 25-year-old was also named in Fabio Capello’s first ever England squad but has still yet to make his debut for the national side.

Nigel Reo-Coker is also another talented player but the former West Ham skipper has also found it hard to get in the team thanks the fantastic displays of the Villa midfield this season.

Steve Sidwell is also in the same bracket as Reo-Coker, the flame-haired midfielder has been a victim of the form of Aston Villa’s midfield this season.

Nicky Shorey and Luke Young are both England international full-backs but haven’t been able to secure starting roles due to Carlos Cuellar and Stephen Warnock. Shorey has spent time on-loan with Fulham this season and could end up there on a permanent basis.

As for Young, the former Charlton man has become a fans favourite at Villa Park and whilst fans may loath to see him go he could still fetch a decent fee at his age.

However are these changes what the Aston Villa squad actually need? Well whilst there is no doubt that the extra money would allow Villa to buy better players, but by selling off the fringe members of their squad then they will need to buy new fringe players to replace them. The depth Villa has at the moment is a good standard and providing the players that now occupy the bench are happy to stay there then perhaps they shouldn’t be sold off.

If O’Neill wants to add more money to his transfer fund then their best source would be from the sale of James Milner. Now whilst his departure would be a huge blow for the club, it is inevitable that he is going to leave sooner or later. Possibly he would stick around for another season, but after his performances this season there is no way that one of the big four aren’t going to come in for him at some point.

If Villa want to get into the top four next season then a lot of money needs to be spent this summer, and even then they will still have the difficult task of competing with sides like Manchester City, Liverpool and Everton for players who will all have Champions League aspirations themselves. The reality is unfortunately that even if Aston Villa do spend big this summer and bring in a lot of new players they are still going to have to contend with finishing outside the top four. This is because Manchester City have too much money and Liverpool will be coming back much stronger. The top four as they are will also improve so it gives Villa an almost impossible battle to compete.

Aston Villa should stick with what they have, add a few players and focus their efforts on the Europa League next season and try and emulate what Fulham have done. Although their league form may suffer, winning a competition like the Europa League would be a fantastic achievement for the club. Villa have proven that they have what it takes to do well in cup competitions by reaching the Carling Cup final and the FA Cup semi-final this season, and with some additions they would definitely have enough quality to win the Europa League.

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