Aston Villa Expiring Contracts – The Big Test of Randy Lerner’s Exit Plan

Seemingly every week in the press a new American billionaire is attached to buy out Randy Lerner, each one seemingly more tenuous than the last. It’s the proverbial Groundhog Day scenario with supporters starting to regard the media with as much credibility as the boy who cried wolf.

Everton Example

The takeover may actually take years, just ask any Everton supporter.

Indeed Everton fans will look at what’s happening at Villa with a sense of déjà vu. Yes, they’ve had even the ‘Red Bull to Give Everton Wings’ headlines too. The asking price for Everton has been mooted at £125 million.

In a climate of uncertainty, Everton have remained competitive throughout, principally from the astute management of first David Moyes and then Roberto Martinez. The later proving with his loan signings of Lukaku and Garth Barry last season, that you don’t have to break the bank to improve your first 11.

So far…

So far we’ve seen  Paul Lambert wheel and deal and in the free agent market with Joe Cole and Phillipe Senderos. Considering Senderos is only on a two-year contract, a certain section of Villa fans cried ‘Why no Lescott instead?’ The rumours say that Villa didn’t want to meet Lescott’s wages, but maybe the truth is closer to the issue of Lescott wanting to play first team football?

Is Lescott better than Vlaar and Okore? I’m not so sure. The cheaper Senderos on the other hand would be happier to be a squad member, Lescott after his spell with Manchester City, less so.

Regardless of the scope of who Lambert brings in to the club, the public detonation of the bomb squad suggests there won’t be many fresh faces incoming, if the likes of Darren Bent and Charles N’Zogbia are now to be reconsidered. The key test of how tight the purse strings will stifle Aston Villa in the short-term, will be seen when it comes to contract talks with key players in the last year of their contract.

The key test – contract renewals

Jack Grealish is expected to sign a new contract after the summer holidays. Less certain is perhaps Samir Carruthers, but his wage won’t be a big ask (update – Carruthers signed for MK Dons). Both these players though aren’t the true barometer to judge Villa’s financial thinking during the ‘for sale’ period, that will be known when it comes to the futures of Ron Vlaar, Fabian Delph and Gabby Agbonlahor. All of whom are in the final year of their contracts.

The World Cup shop window in Brazil may impact Villa captain Ron Vlaar’s decision of whether to stay or join a more successful team. If Vlaar keeps up his performances, the longer the Dutch stay in the tournament, the more desirable he will become. I’m sure Ron won’t fancy another relegation battle after tasting the heights of the later stages of the World Cup.

A decent World Cup for Benteke would have probably seen him leave Villa Park and he’s on a long-term contract. Vlaar is one year away from leaving for free next summer. Perhaps his contract should have been sorted before the World Cup started to keep him?

Speaking of international influence, there’s perhaps not been a better time to make a claim to get into the England team. That will be playing on Fabian Delph’s mind when it comes to discussing his contract at Villa. The Villa midfielder will no doubt seek improved terms and this could make for some interesting negotiations during the summer.

Both Vlaar and Delph will seek more money, but how far will Villa be willing and able to go?

Gabby Agbonlahor is perhaps less of a worry. Can you imagine Mr Aston Villa playing for anybody else? While he’s unlikely to go and is always a valuable member of  any Villa squad, he’ll also perhaps be less of a loss than Vlaar and Delph, if he did seek pastures new.

The aim would be to keep all three, as they are all key parts of the spine of the team and will be needed in what will be an uncertain season ahead.

Aston Villa Expiring Contract Situation of Main Players


Contract End 2015 (final year)

Gabby Agbonlahor, Fabian Delph, Ron Vlaar, Darren Bent, Jack Grealish, Alan Hutton, Graham Burke, Daniel  Johnson.


Contract End 2016 (two years left)

Shay Given, Charles N’Zogbia, Nicklas Helenius, Joe Cole, Nathan Baker, Phillipe Senderos, Joe Bennett, Ciaran Clark, Callum Robinson, Antonio Luna, Leandro Bacuna, Andi Weimann, Matt Lowton, Yacouba Sylla, Gary Gardner.


Contract end 2017 (three years left)

Christian Benteke, Brad Guzan, Libor Kozak, Jores Okore, Aleksandar Tonev, Ashley Westwood.



  1. Malcolm

    I think you mean “drivel” and not “dribble”.

    You can’t spell it BUT you can sure talk it!!

    Lerner is anything but a good owner. He bought a play thing and got bored. He thought it would be easy to compete with big businesses like Man Utd by appointing a couple of cronies/”yes men” who he knew well and trusted not to question him. The guy has shown class in some areas – spending money on Villa assets and charity – but he has also shown that he doesn’t have a clue how to manage and generate sustainable growth in a sports/entertainment business.

  2. This year we only need worry for Delph and the kids, Gabi won’t go anywhere else. Vlaar may end up going anyway, might be a good time to cash in. 2016 also has a lot of dead wood that could move on, but Bacuna must be held on to if possible, and a few others if they accept squad roles. For the rest, three years is a lifetime in football, if we are under new ownership by then they should get sorted. Also some of the players listed need to earn a new contract, lot of promise talked about but little shown from some of the squad.

    But Villa right now are making the hard choice to bring in new players instead of renewing contracts. Both signings make sense logically given our weaknesses last season. Both players have their risks though.

    Lot of talk about the loans Everton made and that being used as a negative against Lambert. When Barry and Lukaku were available we didn’t need those type of players. Delph wouldn’t have broken through as Barry would have his position, doubt Gareth would have wanted to sit on subs bench or play Left Back again. Lukaku, umm yeah he wanted to come to Villa and sit behind CB20 like he does on international duty? Everton have more cash to spend on wages so they can afford to deal with Barcelona and the like for their loans.

    Boils down to right now with Lerner trying to sell, we cannot afford Lambert to be sacked, and he’s getting the best players he can with the cash he has. Rather have a Scot working like that than a Spaniard. Finally remember how long it took Moyes to build Everton up, 11 years was it? The manager we chose isn’t even being given 3 by some Villa fans.

    • With Gardner, Villa did secure him early doors, which shows the kids that Villa will sort them out if they believe in the players. Conversely Villa will let you go if not, a la Albrighton. Who will do well at Leicester I think. But isn’t a player to take Villa forward.

  3. Why do you talk such dribble? Randy Lerner is a fair-minded Owner and has been an excellent Custodian as he calls himself and done a lot for Aston Villa, its Supporters and everyone at the Club. Granted it is sda that he has lost interest but that is his right and he has been very honest. The only thing he should have done was to sack Lambert in everything else I totally trust his judgement.

    I do fully believe that a lot is going on behind the scenes but when one is selling a Company one does not tell the world what is going on! It is a pity that Supporters are not more grown up about the Sale of the Club!

    I have not doubt that as I right deliberations are going on this very moment and as soon as a Sale is agrred then it will be made known to all of us!

    Be patient and act like a true supporter and not liek some little kid who has dropped his sweets in the mud!

    Up mthe Villa which is still the best club in the world and the founder fo football as we know it today


    • Problem is Malcolm the sale of the club could take years. There’s this assumption by a lot of fans it is something that will happen in a matter of weeks. Just look at what has happen in the case of Everton. Up for sale for a while now, but no buyer. The emphasis of this article is will Lerner’s heart / wallet be in it, during the ‘for sale’ period?

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