According to Birmingham Live, the door hasn’t been completely closed on a new contract for Aston Villa defender Ritchie De Laet.
With De Laet’s contract expiring this summer, Villa are faced with a decision over his future. The Belgian played in just two Carabao Cup fixtures earlier this season before being shipped out on loan to A-League side Melbourne City.
But despite his current deal nearing its end, the door hasn’t been completely closed on him staying for longer than planned, according to Birmingham Live.
Villa boss Dean Smith won’t have been able to make too much of a judgement on the player yet, considering it was Steve Bruce who initially let the player leave. Therefore, it remains a possibility that the former Bees man may have plans for him to feature next season.
The defender, who has been capped twice by Belgium, shone out for the club in pre-season so it was perhaps a bit bizarre that he wasn’t deemed good enough by Bruce.
De Laet has been a steady player at Championship level, but if the Villans are to go up they must focus their transfer expenditure elsewhere.
At the moment, the club has three defenders whose loan deals are set to expire at the end of the season.
The main player from that trio is Tyrone Mings, a Premier League proven player Villa simply cannot afford to lose. Although he doesn’t play in the same role as De Laet, most of the attention must be put on him.
Similarly, there should be a focus on both Axel Tuanzebe, who could arrive on loan again and Kortney Hause. Both players possess the ability to play in wider defensive roles and given the form of Ahmed Elmohamady he is more deserving of a new deal than De Laet.
Considering he’d be so low down the pecking order, issuing the 30-year-old a new deal would be pointless. Instead, Smith needs to focus on keeping those more suited to the Premier League.