Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood would be wise to bring in another centre-back this summer.
According to a report from the Mirror, Aston Villa are planning to offer Ciaran Clark a new contract this summer, while fellow centre-back Ron Vlaar edges ever closer to the exit.
The report suggests that the Netherlands international is no closer to signing a deal previously tabled by the club and that Tim Sherwood wants to secure the long-term future of Clark to be one of four centre-backs along with Micah Richards, Jores Okore and Nathan Baker.
But with the latter’s ongoing injury problems, would Sherwood be wise to dip into the transfer market for one more central defender? After all, for all Baker’s talent he has been the unlucky sufferer of many an injury despite being only 24.
Last season, Baker featured just 13 times in all competitions as injuries on three separate occasions robbed him of large parts of the campaign.
The season before he fared considerably better, appearing 31 times, but Baker has a history of picking up injuries that may cause Sherwood some alarm.
Okore and Clark are likely to be the first-choice centre-back pairing next season – although Richards may have something to say about that – but Villa will need strength in depth and last season showed how quickly injury problems can cause a defensive selection headache.
All Villa fans will want to see Baker stay fit and get a full campaign under his belt, but can Sherwood take the risk that four defenders will not swiftly become three?