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How Aston Villa could line up next season

With Aston Villa potentially being busy during the summer transfer window, Sports Mole takes a look at how the West Midlands outfit could line up next season.

While Aston Villa will have taken pride from reaching the EFL Cup final, their current plight in the Premier League means that the stakes are currently high at the West Midlands outfit.

Given their financial outlay over recent transfer windows, the club are wary of their position with FFP, something which would take a significant hit if they suffer an immediate return back to the Championship.

Although Jack Grealish will likely be sold in order to raise funds, decisions will have to made with regards to balancing matters both on and off the pitch.

With that in mind, Sports Mole predicts how Villa may line up on the opening day of next season, regardless of whether they avoid relegation from the Premier League.

AVLXI next season

Despite Pepe Reina being brought in as a replacement for the injured Tom Heaton, the Spaniard is not regarded as a long-term option, and the club's board will want the veteran off the wage bill in the summer.

As it stands, it is difficult to predict any changes which will be made to the backline, although we expect Bjorn Engels to be moved on after failing to impress alongside Tyrone Mings at centre-back.

Villa may also take the opportunity to cash in on Douglas Luiz, who has found himself in and out of the starting lineup and would not be suited to the second tier if Villa finish in the bottom three.

Parting ways with the Brazilian would potentially give Villa more leeway when it comes to fending off bids for John McGinn, a player who they have missed over the past three months due to a broken ankle.

Neither Marvelous Nakamba nor Conor Hourihane have been regular starters this season, but they are still important squad members regardless of where Villa are playing their football next season.

The biggest issue will be replacing Grealish, a player who has had 13 direct goal involvements in the Premier League this season and is seen as an inspirational figure at the club.

Having contributed 10 goals and seven assists in the Championship this season, Brentford playmaker Said Benrahma appears to be a natural replacement for Grealish, while the acquisition of the Algerian would allow money to be spent on other areas.

Signing Huddersfield Town attacker Karlan Grant would also represent an astute piece of business by Villa with the versatile forward having 16 goals and four assists to his name in the Championship.

Although the 22-year-old has regularly been used on the left, he could alternate sides with Benrahma, with Grealish having been used on the left to cut inside on a regular basis this season.

Villa also have a decision to make regarding Wesley Soares, a forward who only netted five times in 21 top-flight fixtures before suffering a serious knee injury.

Having scored twice in six outings since his January arrival from Genk, Mbwana Samatta appears more likely to be handed responsibility down the middle during the next campaign.

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Aston Villa boss Dean Smith on March 1, 2020
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