Aston Villa must begin Championship shopping, says Shay Given

It may be a defeatist way of looking at things but Shay Given’s comments about how Aston Villa should go about their transfer business this January take a logical approach.

The former Villa goalkeeper has spoken out about how the side cut adrift at the bottom of the Premier League should be looking to sign players from the Championship to avoid being drawn into any long and costly contracts with top-flight players if and when they go down.

“They are probably being realistic now, as they are probably too far gone,” he told Talksport.

“They would be crazy to go and sign more Premier League players in January to try and stay in the division because they are going to have big contracts and big transfer fees.

“They probably have to prepare for the Championship, and bring in some Championship players to build up for next season.”

Fans of the West Midlands club may find it hard to accept, but with Remi Garde’s side 11 points from safety and 1/50 shots to face the drop this term, the former Republic of Ireland stopper is probably right.

Sounding out those targets could be tough, with any player currently engaged in a promotion push unlikely to opt for the near-certainty that they will drop straight back down should they join Villa in January.

Others will see their club hold out for extortionate fees based on ‘potential’ and the fact it is a Premier League club calling.

Nevertheless, with plenty of second-tier players out of contract in the summer, there could be some relative bargains available, either for a knock down price now, or for nothing at the end of the season.

We’ve picked out three that could meet the criteria for Given’s Aston Villa spending plan.

Curtis Davies

With Hull City well amongst the promotion push, this is one move that would likely have to wait until the summer if Villa were interested.

Their former captain has been the bedrock of Steve Bruce’s side this season, featuring 21 times in a campaign that sees the Tigers sat in third place in the table having kept 11 clean sheets this term.

At 30 years-old there is still reason to believe that the centre-back is more than capable of doing a job at Villa Park, and a move back to familiar surroundings isn’t out of the question.

Hal Robson-Kanu

The Reading forward will be keen to showcase his talents at the highest level possible with the Wales international out to secure a starting berth in Chris Coleman’s Euro 2016 squad.

A move to Villa will allow him to do that, albeit probably only for five months, but it is something the 26-year-old has spoken of this season.

Linked to Swansea in the summer, Robson-Kanu described how the Premier League bought out the best in him when netting seven times in 2012-13 and “makes no qualms about saying it’s where I want to be”.

Adam Le Fondre

Another former Reading player, Le Fondre has always just fallen short of the required quality to be a Premier League regular.

Having reached double figures in term of goals in each of the last 11 seasons, one of them in the top-flight and three in the Championship, Le Fondre would certainly add some firepower to the Villa attack next term.

Since selling Christian Benteke, the Villans have failed to replicate the Belgian’s prowess in front of goal, netting 16 times this term, the lowest tally in the Premier League, so reinforcements could be needed.

Whether Wolves loanee is a man to do that in the summer remains to be seen.

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Ben Stones

Ladbrokes News’ equine expert, Ben likes nothing more than studying the form to pick out a winner or two for our readers. A Journalism and Media Studies graduate from the University of Winchester, Ben has previously written for a number of football and racing blogs and websites, as well as contributing to the sports pages of his home-town newspaper.