What a thoroughly miserable campaign it has been so far for Aston Villa.
Adrift at the bottom of the Premier League, with the locals letting the vast array of empty seats at Villa Park show their dissatisfaction with their team, optimism is thin on the ground in that part of the midlands.
Remi Garde has come in as a replacement for Tim Sherwood, but frankly it doesn’t matter how good the coach is if he only has Championship-quality players to work with.
So far this season it has honestly looked like a case of men against boys when they have come up against proper Premier League teams, and that has to change before any improvements can be made.
The January transfer window could be a very busy time indeed for Villa and their new manager.
With that in mind, here are our five suggestions as to who Garde should think about shipping out when the time comes…..
The beanpole Czech striker has only made one appearance in all competitions so far this season, and that was as a sub in the League Cup.
A serious injury ruled him out of the whole of last season, and although he made his comeback in July, he has struggled to get into most matchday squads. Even when he was fit, in 2013/14, Kozak was very much a backup striker.
With Jordan Ayew and Rudy Gestede having arrived since then (and both actually looking half decent), Kozak may not have too much time left at Villa Park.
Birmingham City are apparently interested in the forward, who has only scored four times for Villa in total.
A backup defender only just returning to first team duties after around five months out with a nasty knee injury, Okore nevertheless will be behind Micah Richards, Cieran Clark and Joleon Lescott in the pecking order for places in the centre of defence, and therefore may find himself surplus to requirements at Villa Park.
As part of a defence that last year found itself constantly exposed and now finding himself probably behind Richards and Lescott, who at least are experienced in the Premier League, Okore could well find himself on the fast train out of Villa Park at the earliest possible opportunity.
One of the myriad of foreign summer signings, Crespo played most of the season for Cordoba in La Liga last year as a full back.
Frankly it remains to be seen why Villa bought him, seeing as Cordoba finished comfortably bottom of the league, had a hopeless defensive record and were widely acknowledged as one of the worst sides to play in the Spanish top tier in recent times.
It therefore appears somewhat unlikely that this was one of Tim Sherwood’s signings, with the blame instead having to fall at the feet of the oft-maligned transfer committee at Villa Park.
Having only made two appearances for Villa so far and not looking like making any more, Garde will surely want to offload him as soon as possible.
A man who has spent most of his career somehow earning a living as a left back despite plenty of evidence that he is clearly unsuited to defensive duties, Richardson has been mediocre at best for Villa this year, and abject at worst.
Only making four complete appearances (which have seen Villa concede 11 goals), Richardson cannot have impressed Garde so far. Clearly behind Jordan Amavi in the manager’s plans before Garde came in, the new boss may well sense that Richardson is simply not good enough as a Premier League defender.
If he does that, the ex-Man United youngster could be on his way out of the club sharpish.
How is this man still hanging around Villa Park? Having only made two substitute appearances so far this season, N’Zogbia has shown no reasons at all why he should stay with the club beyond January.
Since signing for Villa in 2011 he has only scored four goals, rarely provided quality assists and crosses, and hardly ever had a consistent period of good performances.
He still somehow earns around £65k-a-week, (massive kudos to his agent) and it seems staggering that he has managed to stagger on at Villa Park, about three years after he last provided any useful contributions at all to the team.