Aston Villa will not be renewing James Chester’s contract at the end of the season, meaning he will become a free agent, according to Football Insider.
The 31-year-old, who is seeing out the rest of the season on loan at Stoke City, will be let go, despite the fact it is stated in the report that Dean Smith is hoping to bring in further defensive recruits during the summer transfer window.
This news has led to many Villa fans feeling a sense of disappointment and frustration, which they have vented on Twitter.
Aston Villa don’t intend to extend James Chester’s contract and will let him leave at the end of the season. [football insider] #avfc
— villareport (@villareport) February 25, 2020
The cult hero has represented Villa a total of 126 times, playing an integral role in getting them back to the Premier League, so one fan feels “he deserves better”.
Reasons for wanting him to stay are not solely sentimental though, as the feeling is that he can still be a useful asset, who is “better than Hause and Konsa”.
If they do let Chester go, there will be pressure to bring in a name that supporters can get behind to replace him, with one fan claiming “I’ll only accept this if we sign Tuanzebe”.
— Stay up & win the cup (@eddie__22) February 25, 2020
discusting he derserves better and i wont believ anything untill an official statement is out
— CARMEN (@AvfcCarmen) February 25, 2020
I’ll only accept this if we sign Tuanzebe, otherwise it’s beyond stupid
— DOUGLAS (@DancingDouglas) February 25, 2020
Better than Hause and Konsa in my view
— mrclaretandblue1981 (@claretandblue31) February 25, 2020
Really after some defensive clangers, bit of calmness and stability what Chester will give us and go to 4 3 3 got to be better than this now
— Coronation (@MidsPlacer) February 25, 2020
Fans are also confused about the timing of this announcement, as they feel the club should be ensuring they are still in the Premier League before making their decision.
Villa are still just one point above the relegation zone, meaning that safety is far from secured – dropping down to the Championship would likely have a large impact on transfer policy.
One fan has suggested that “surely if we go down, a one-year extension would make sense”, while another has stated that “he would be very important” at that level.
Surely if we go down a 1 year extension would make sense? If he plays the rest of the season for Stoke and his form keeps improving I don’t see the downside.
— Matt AVFC (@everysongsung) February 25, 2020
If we’re in the premier league, fair enough. If we go down we need to give him a new one!
— Harrison Price (@HarrisonPrice8) February 25, 2020
Better to see what division we are in, in championship he would be very important as I imaging Mings could have to go
— Roy McLoughlin (@ulstervilla1980) February 26, 2020
Meanwhile, Villa fans react to Jack Grealish’s comments.