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Stewart Downing Will Not Commit To A New Contract With Aston Villa

Which of these players will remain at Villa Park next season?
Which of these players will remain at Villa Park next season?

Aston Villa held talks with winger Stewart Downing regarding a contract extension that would keep him in claret and blue until 2015. Unfortunately for Villa fans, Downing isn't ready for such a commitment. The England international has two years left on his contract and believes he is at a "major crossroads" in his career, and as such he won't be making any promises. What a turn around from two weeks ago, when we all thought that Downing opening his contract talks -- and saying such positive remarks about the club -- meant he'd stay a Villan.

So what's changed, Stewie?

While I do give Downing props for coming out in support of the club after Houllier had fallen ill, it would be foolish to acknowledge that this wasn't a difficult season -- for every Villan. Rumors still abound that key players are not happy with Gerard Houllier's management. At this point, no one knows who will be managing next season, nor what their style will be like. And, of course, there's always the lure of Champions League football. And shiny moneys.

Another fun fact: give a Villan an award and he'll run a mile. Stiliyan Petrov (AVFC Player of the Year for 2008-2009) remains, but Gareth Barry (AVFC Player of the Year 2006-2007) and James Milner (AVFC Player of the Year last season, as well as the Premier League Young Player of the Year) are both stuck at Manchester City. Ashley Young (Premier League Young Player of the Year 2008-2009) is set to leave. Anyone want to make a Stew-o-meter?