Should they stay or should they go: making sense of Aston Villa's current squad

Laurence Griffiths

With six new signings already made this summer, Aston Villa's squad is starting to look a bit crowded. 7500 to Holte looks at which players the club should keep and which they should send on their way.

Paul Lambert has already secured six new signings, and it's not even July yet. But Aston Villa have yet to cut free many of their players, even ones that Lambert has made clear have no place in his exciting young squad. So who should stay, and who should leave? 7500 lead editor Kirsten Schlewitz takes a look -- but everything is up for discussion. Who do you think should stick around, and who should be given the boot?

(New signings made this summer are excluded because, well, their foreseeable future is known)

Lock 'em down and throw away the key

Brad Guzan (GK)

28 years old and one of the best keepers in the league -- just imagine what the side might look like with a more competent defense in front of Brad?

Matthew Lowton (D)

God but it's nice to have a quality fullback. Lowton played all but one league match for Villa last season and made a fantastic impression, particularly considering he jumped up from League One. And my god but that goal against Stoke was simply sex.

Ashley Westwood (MF)

He's 23, he signed from Crewe Alexandria, and he managed to be one of the best players for Villa this season. Westwood's potential just boggles the mind, and his signing shows Lambert really is very, very good at digging up young talent.

Gabby Agbonlahor (F)

Agbonlahor is a Villa man through and through, and sometimes, that's worth a decent amount of cash. Add to that Gabby's second half of the season, his speed and his ability to frustrate defenses, and he's a vital member of Lambert's squad. Off the market, period.

Andi Weimann (F)

Villa have already locked him down with a new contract, thank goodness. Sure, Andi's 7 goals last season don't quite measure up to Benteke's numbers, but he had a fantastic year and I think it's safe to say he's only going to keep improving. Plus, that goal celebration alone is worth tying him down.

Tie the knot but make it loose

Ron Vlaar (D)

The Dutchman is prone to a mistake or two, but his experience in a young back line is vital, and after a year at the club, he should be able to exert a firmer grip as captain. Plus, you gotta love his enthusiasm.

Joe Bennett (D)

Despite garnering the vitriol and ire of a large percentage of Villa supporters, by the end of the season, Bennett managed to look like a decent Premier League defender. With the arrival of Antonio Luna this summer, Joe has every reason to continue to improve his game.

Nathan Baker (D)

Head injuries, red cards, own goals -- yet I want Baker to stick around. There's just something charming about his head wounds.

Chris Herd (MF)

Ok, this is more of a personal reason, due to my love for his absolutely adorable accent. But Herd had a long layoff due to injury, and he's still young. He's a versatile player and worth keeping around, especially since he doesn't bring a huge wage burden with him.

Gary Gardner (MF)

Just returned from injury, our Villa academy player needs a season with the senior squad. I think we're all waiting to see just how good Gards can be.

Christian Benteke (F)

Yeah, I want Bentekkers to stay. Who doesn't? But if some silly English side is willing to offer upwards of £20m, Villa shouldn't be so sentimental and foolish. Lambert could buy 50 players for that price.

Eh, whatevs

Ciaran Clark (D)

I expected more improvement from the 23 year old from last season to this. He's probably good to have around, if only as a competent back up, but I would prefer a different starting center back.

Charles N'Zogbia (MF)

We've spent the last two seasons waiting for Blazing Roaches to reach his full potential. He's not bad to have around, but if he went off to Everton to reunite with Roberto Martinez, there probably wouldn't be many tears shed.

Marc Albrighton (MF)

It makes my heart hurt to put Marc on this list, but to be quite honest, if he weren't so ferociously devoted to the club, he'd probably land on the next tier down. I think most of us are still crossing our fingers that Elf's talent miraculously re-emerges.

Fabian Delph (MF)

Many are going to disagree with me about not necessarily wanting Delph to stay. But I'm of the opinion that we Villa fans have been waiting so long for Delph to be great that, now that he's had a decent half-season, we're placing a lot of hope on him actually being the player we've hoped for. I just don't trust it.

Yacouba Sylla (MF)

Perhaps a slight twitch in Lambert's normally great eye, but Sylla just didn't impress in his short time -- 11 games -- at Aston Villa. Still, probably not the worst to have on the bench.

Jordan Bowery (F)

He's just 21, but then again, Benteke is just six months older. Bowery seems fine to have on reserve, but not worth shelling out lots of cash. Then again, he may end up a pleasant surprise.

The exit's that way - we won't block it

Enda Stevens (D)

The last time we saw this Alex McLeish signing was in the League Cup match against Bradford. That pretty much says it all, really.

Karim El Ahmadi (MF)

Such potential! Such promise! KEA was a regular in the Villa squad for the first three months of Lambert's reign. Then he just sort of...disappeared. Now his best trait is having a name that is easily anagramed.

Barry Bannan (MF)

The only reason Barry Bannan's former biggest fan isn't shoving him out the door is because he doesn't make enough to justify forcing him to go. Also, I can hardly see the door through my tears.

Nathan Delfouneso (F)

He last played for Villa in August before going on loan to Blackpool for the rest of the season. Look at the rest of the strikeforce. It's just time to let him go.

Here's your train ticket, there's the door

Shay Given (GK)

The Villa are paying £60,000 to keep the bench warm. Surely a space heater would be cheaper.

Alan Hutton (D)

Did you know Hutton is no longer listed on the official site? Now if we could only get him off the books for good.

Stephen Ireland (MF)

Ireland may have had that one decent half-season for Villa, but I still feel Manchester City conned us by forcing his inclusion in the James Milner deal. The club might as well be paying his wages directly to his interior decorator, auto detailer and tattoo artist.

Darren Bent (F)

There's been plenty of discussion amongst Villa fans over whether it's worth keeping Bent. After all, it's not as if he's bad. The reason I want him gone is simple: wages. £3m per year is a lot of money to spend on a substitute.

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