Who will rescue the unwanted Aston Villa four?

Barry Bannan

Aston Villa reportedly still have four players up for sale, but who will take them?

Aston Villa have made several signings this summer, perhaps without a marquee name - but strengthening a young and talented squad.

Having secured star striker Christian Benteke to a new contract, Villa's final mission is to offload some of the deadwood from their ranks, even freeing up wage space which could be put towards a late deadline day addition.

Here's a look at who could sign the unwanted four...

Shay Given

Given's Aston Villa career has been ruined by injury, and he now finds himself surplus to requirements following the signing of promising England youth international Jed Steer, who can challenge number one Brad Guzan. Given has this summer been linked with both Celtic as back-up to Fraser Forster, and Doncaster Rovers. Both deals appear to be off the table for now, but if the 37-year-old does go anywhere, it will likely be to play. Expect to see him drop down to the Championship, whether it be on loan or permanently.

Alan Hutton

Alan Hutton has been here before, surplus to requirements last season, nobody came in for him on deadline day. He took a late switch to rejoin former boss Alex McLeish at Nottingham Forest, before making a surprise move to join La Liga side Real Mallorca in January, who ended up getting relegated. They tried to re-sign him this summer, but the move stalled over his wage demands. With deadline nearing, this deal could be resurrected, as could a return to former club Glasgow Rangers if he makes himself affordable to the cash-strapped club.

Stephen Ireland

Once a blossoming talent, it appears Stephen Ireland's last Aston Villa chance has passed him by. He like Given was linked with a move to Doncaster, but this seems to be off the cards for now. Could Mark Hughes hand him an opportunity at Stoke? Crystal Palace boss Ian Holloway has been trying to rescue stray talents such as Joey Barton and Nicklas Bendtner in recent days, could Ireland be next on his agenda.

Barry Bannan

Not so long ago under Alex McLeish, Barry Bannan was a key component of the Aston Villa side, but found himself out of favour last season. The midfielder was linked to Blackburn Rovers last month but talks between the clubs broke down. This was as close as he has come to finding a new home, and it could yet be salvaged. If not, another Championship club coming in for him would likely be his best bet.

Which of the four do Villa most need to offload?

image: © Ronnie Macdonald

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