With Aston Villa having already signed five new players this summer, it seems only logical that we should expect some of the current team to head out. Indeed, we've already seen the departures of Jean Makoun, Eric Lichaj, and Brett Holman among others. Over the weekend, a couple of places reported that Paul Lambert is also looking to get rid of Alan Hutton, Stephen Ireland, Shay Given, and Darren Bent. But the reports don't really give us any new info, so what should we expect?
The only reason I'm even writing this is that one of our twitter followers pointed out that I hadn't put Shay Given on the transfer rumour tracker. In making the list, I never even thought to put Given there, as I guess I'd really forgotten he was a part of the team. And the same likely would have been true for Hutton if Aaron hadn't written a story about him earlier. We assume these players aren't long for Villa, but in a month full of action they're still around.
But I wouldn't worry too much. Lambert knows that these four have no future role with the club, he's just got to find somewhere to move them. The part that stinks is that it may end up costing Aston Villa money, or making them very little. All are here on expensive contracts and making wages that they only justify by not playing (maybe a bit harsh on Bent, but I firmly believe the other three are of more help to Villa by staying off the pitch than they'd ever be on it).
As a result, I imagine we'll see these guys go for very cheap, with Aston Villa possibly even picking up part of the wage bill. But as I've said time and time again, these are sunk costs. The players are likely to never see the pitch again for Villa, so the money is already down the drain. I'd have to imagine that the accounting used for summer transfers started out with that assumption, and therefore any money gotten back for the four will be seen as at least a small profit.
We're still indirectly paying for the profligate spending of MON, whose decisions led Aston Villa to the point where they needed Gerard Houllier to make some financially unsound choices, which eventually led us to Alex McLeish and his stupidity. As a result we have four largely expendable players taking up the club's money. They're not gone yet, but say your goodbyes to Given, Ireland, Hutton, and Bent while you still can. It's probably best for Paul Lambert if he keeps on making the transfer decisions he has been, and cuts ties to the past as quickly as possible.