This article is part of Football FanCast’s Opinion series, which provides analysis, insight and opinion on any issue within the beautiful game, from Paul Pogba’s haircuts to League Two relegation battles…
Although Aston Villa will want as strong a squad as possible as they look to retain their Premier League status in 2019/20, one player who simply must be axed from the realms of B6 in January is Henri Lansbury, based on Spotrac’s detailing of the wages within Dean Smith’s squad.
The breakdown reveals the alleged annual and weekly wages of 20 Villa players, and despite making just three substitute appearances in the current Premier League campaign, Lansbury sits as the second-highest-paid player from those listed.
Since arriving from Nottingham Forest in 2017, the 29-year-old has been unable to secure a regular starting berth under the management of former boss Steve Bruce and now Smith, largely owing to how impressive John McGinn, Jack Grealish and Conor Hourihane have been.
They finished last season with a combined 22 goals and 30 assists. In comparison, Lansbury has scored two goals and registered three assists in 24 league starts for the West Midlands outfit over the last two campaigns.
On a reported weekly wage of £40,000, sitting only behind veteran keeper Tom Heaton (£42,000 p/week), for Lansbury to justify such a vast comparative outlay for the club, a more regular starting berth must be earned and a more consistent contribution provided.
But barring an injury crisis, and despite the lack of starts not being directly Lansbury’s fault, it is difficult to see how the midfielder will manage to do that. He’s only featured from the bench in the Premier League this season and after the summer arrivals of Douglas Luiz and Marvelos Nakamba, even the aforementioned Hourihane has clinched just four top flight starts this term. Competition in midfield is pretty fierce right now.
With that in mind, is vital that the club look to offload the former Nottingham Forest man at the next opportunity in January. Not only will that free up wages for potential signings who could give something more significant to the squad, but it would also ensure Villa receive good value for a player whose contract will have just twelve months left in the summer.
Lansbury just isn’t contributing enough to justify his wages and certainly from a financial perspective, the sooner he’s gone, the better.