After four heavily disrupted years, Libor Kozak's time at Aston Villa is up.
The striker signed a four year deal with Villa back in 2013, and the possibility of a contract extension was never really on the cards, but the 27 year old striker has taken to Instagram to confirm his departure.
I would like to say thank you to all the Aston Villa football fans: thank you so much for supporting me and bearing with me for four years. I am deeply sad that I have not been able to repay your trust and faith. I have tried with all my strength but the last few years have been rather difficult for me..from the moment I was seriously injured on a bad tackle in training session! For this reason I am happy to close a chapter and start a new one, yet this memory will stay forever with me. I love you all, Aston Villa supporters, and I really wish you best of luck for the future! @avfcofficial #avfc
Kozak's post is nothing but classy, and makes the point that his time at Villa will not be defined by his crucial goals against Norwich and Cardiff in his first season, but rather, his history of horrid injuries.
The Czech Republic international arrived at Villa having won the golden boot in the Europa League for Lazio the previous season. His first few months in B6 were pretty decent, as he found the back of the net four times in his first 14 appearances. However, a training ground collision with Ciaran Clark was the beginning of a long and frustrating few years for Kozak.
It took 15 months for Kozak to return to the field following the leg break, and seemingly endless complications that came thereafter. He never truly regained full fitness, and featured just four times as Aston Villa were relegated from the Premier League. Under Roberto Di Matteo, Kozak featured twice in the Championship, but was frozen out by Steve Bruce, before an ankle injury ended his season in February.
It is more than likely that Kozak will head back to the continent to find himself a new club, with a return to Italy being a real possibility. Wherever he ends up, I sure hope he is able to get back to the level he was at prior to joining Villa. All the best Libor!