Aston Villa had started the Championship season reasonably well, remaining unbeaten after their first five games.
However, a 4-1 shellacking at Sheffield United exposed deep defensive frailties in the Villa backline.
And that now makes it 11 goals conceded in just six league games. In essence, Steve Bruce’s back four is leakier than floating down-stream on a tennis racket.
Bruce failed to replace John Terry in the summer and has plugged the whole with central defensive midfielder Mile Jedinak. But it’s not gone to plan at all.
The Villans are still 10/3 for promotion. But they need to solve their defensive issues quickly. We take a look at five free agents they can sign up outside the transfer window.
Captain, leader, born-again Villan? Terry left the club last summer after defeat to Fulham in the play-off final.
But new owners at Villa Park mean Bruce could have the finance to get the former Chelsea skipper back on-board for one more season.
Rumours are circulating already that a deal is in the offing. But will it get over the line?
The 34-year-old has been without a club since leaving Leicester City. The double Premier League-winning defender would be a reasonable pick-up for Villa in terms of plugging the back-line.
Huth wouldn’t command massive wages and has huge experience of both English football, and the Championship.
Remarkably, Polenta is just 26-years-old but has been without a club since leaving Nacional back in his homeland of Uruguay.
The former Genoa centre-half was heavily linked with a move to Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United over the summer. But a deal never came to fruition.
Polenta is a classy, no-nonsense defender and would be a medium and long term addition to Villa.
Speaking of former Villans, former Villa Park stalwart James Collins is also on the lookout for a new club.
West Ham United cut the 35-year-old loose over the summer. And in terms of tough, grizzled veteran defenders, Collins is up there with the most experienced.
However, his time at Villa was marred with inconsistency and it’d be a surprise to see him return to B6.
Former Borussia Dortmund ace Felipe Santana is still only 32-years-old. But the Brazilian is on the free agents’ list after his release from Brazil’s Serie A side, Atletico-MG.
Santana has a host of experience in major leagues, and played 119 games for BVB and Schalke, scoring 7 goals.
The leggy centre-half is reasonably quick and good in the air. Plus, he can also play defensive midfield if needed.
Click here for more Championship odds
All Odds and Markets correct as of date of publication