Bent among five players Lambert must offload at Aston Villa

With Paul Lambert under increasing pressure to get results and Villa facing tricky opponents in Tottenham, here are five stars surplus to requirements.

Five straight defeats and no goals scored in the Premier League tells its own story but things could yet get worse for Aston Villa this weekend, with Tottenham heading to the Midlands to face Paul Lambert’s side.

Spurs have come out on top in each of the previous five meetings between the two and should defeat come, then any one of the five following names should be jettisoned by Lambert and Roy Keane before it’s too late.

Darren Bent

The 30-year-old striker has been looking for a way out of Villa Park for much of the previous two seasons but after failing to impress on loan at Fulham last term has remained with at the club.

Without a goal in five appearances this term, Villa should look to send him away again, with a temporary move to former club Ipswich Town in the Championship one potential option.

Joe Cole

Eyebrows aplenty were raised when Lambert recruited Joe Cole on a free transfer from West Ham, where he had previously struggled, with the former England international signing a two-year deal.

It’s already looking like a disastrous decision, with Cole featuring in two largely anonymous games for the first-team. Lambert has spoken of the 32-year-old stepping up in the absence of Fabian Delph but on current form, Villa should be looking to move this overpaid, over-the-hill star on.

Charles N’Zogbia

An Achilles tendon injury may have made the Frenchman a long-term absentee for Villa until recently, but even when fit N’Zogbia rarely showed the passion and commitment required to make things work with the Birmingham club.

A talented, skilful player with the ability to trouble the Premier League’s best defences on his day, the painful reality is that the 28-year-old may not have the right attitude and mentality to make a go of things under Lambert and should be moved on.

Leandro Bacuna

The Dutchman started so brightly after signing from Groningen two summers ago, with five goals in his debut season for Villa.

Yet this season, fans have witnessed an alarming drop-off in form from the 23-year-old, who cuts an increasingly marginalised figure at the club, having played just three times for Villa in the top-flight this term. It could be time for Lambert to consider cashing in on the youngster.

Aleksandar Tonev

Though the Bulgarian is on loan at Celtic this season, quotes attributed to the player, which criticise manager Lambert for failing to pick him regularly mean he is unlikely to play much on his return to the club.

More significant still is the seven-game ban the winger has just received from the Scottish FA for allegedly using “abusive language of a racist nature” against Aberdeen star Shay Logan make his position at the club untenable – he simply must be sold.

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