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Charles N'Zogbia unable to train with reserves for half the season

Villa cast-off will be out until at least the end of the year after suffering ruptured achilles over the summer.

Clive Mason

Aston Villa (in theory, at least) midfielder Charles N'Zogbia will likely be out for at least half of the 2013-14 season as he continues his recovery from surgery to repair a ruptured achilles tendon suffered over the summer. N'Zogbia, who started 11 Premier League games last season and made 16 total appearances in all competitions, was relegated to the bench and eventually found his way out of the squad entirely with is last first-team appearance coming on April 22nd when he was subbed off at half-time of Villa's 3-0 loss to Manchester United at Old Trafford. Though N'Zogbia had several encouraging performances last season, the inconsistency that has been something of a recurring theme throughout his career endured. When he was issued the number 36 during pre-season, it was clear that he was no longer in Paul Lambert's plans.

With N'Zogbia unlikely to be healthy in time for the January window and unlikely to be given any playing time should his recovery progress more quickly than expected, it would appear that he will remain on Villa's books until at least next summer. If there are suitors for N'Zogbia's services, the most likely outcome is that the player is sold for well below the £9.5 million Villa paid Wigan for his services before the 2011-12 season, with the club's best chances to get something approaching decent value likely requiring a loan move before a permanent deal can be arranged, much like the approach taken with Darren Bent.

It's yet another frustrating chapter in N'Zogbia's unpleasant Villa spell; brought in for what seemed to be a bargain price as a partial replacement for Stewart Downing and Ashley Young, N'Zogbia has very seldom shown anything approaching the quality that was so often on display with Wigan. He's flashed just enough quality to remind everyone that he's capable of being an extremely dangerous player at any time, but seldom enough of it to justify his wages or place in the starting lineup. While it's possible that this injury could be the thing that motivates him to restore his standing in Lambert's eyes, it's significantly more likely that it's only delaying his inevitable departure, likely at a cut-rate price.