Middlesbrough are looking to sign Aston Villa centre-back James Chester, as reported by Football Insider.
Jonathan Woodgate is said to be in the market for defensive reinforcements, with the 5 foot 11 Villa man near the top of his wishlist.
The Championship side are keeping tabs on the Welshman, who has only made two appearances in all competitions this campaign, none of which have come in the Premier League – though that is largely down to injury.
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He also only has until the end of the season until his contract’s culmination, which puts further doubt on his Villa future.
Middlesbrough have set their sights on signing James Chester this month. [football insider] #avfc
— villareport (@villareport) January 13, 2020
Some Villa fans have outright refused to believe that Chester could be about to leave their club, with one stating that is “a day I do not want to see”.
The Welshman has admitted that he sacrificed his body when playing through injury during Villa’s promotion campaign, as reported by The Birmingham Mail: “I’ve damaged my body indefinitely. It’s something I’m going to have to manage for the rest of my career.”
That dedication has made him a fan favourite and somebody who will be missed if he leaves.
James Chester leaving is a day I do not want to see…. pic.twitter.com/tEO4pIKmbU
— Holly (@HollyJen86) January 13, 2020
— Carl Harris (@CarlvHarris) January 13, 2020
— Ben Fowler (@Localboy99) January 13, 2020
However, the desire to have him as part of their squad is not entirely sentimental, as one fan stated “he should be starting for us now”.
The centre-back did put in an impressive performance against Liverpool during the 5-0 Carabao Cup victory, highlighting that he can still prove to be a useful player.
Red Herring or Real Hero: Only hardcore Villa fans will get all of them right….
When it is considered that the team are now coming off the back of a 6-1 annihilation at the hands of Manchester City, some rotation at the back may be welcome.
Hell no!!!!! He should be starting for us now!
— Chun Tsang (道) (@8Tsang) January 13, 2020
He should be starting for Villa.
Our central defence is terrible, every single match they make horrendous decisions, we never look solid.
— Pingu_Villa (@Pingu_Dream) January 13, 2020
There has been the suggestion that some fans would be okay with seeing him leave if it is only a loan deal.
Considering the aforementioned lack of game time the centre-back has had, it could be useful for him to go away and get a higher volume of minutes.
However, it has been made clear that they don’t want this move to be a permanent one.
On loan? Yes, let him go & get his fitness back.
— (@Kilmartin32) January 13, 2020
I’d loan him out to get fitness. If he gets back to his normal self would love to still have him at the club, even as a backup CB.
— J (@JkpilotJon) January 13, 2020