Jermaine Jenas has told Yahoo Sport that Aston Villa are arrogant for thinking they are better than a relegation battle, and slammed the club's summer transfer business.
Jenas, now working as a pundit, played for Aston Villa back in 2011, having joined on loan from Tottenham, where he worked alongside current Villa boss Tim Sherwood.
Sherwood is under increasing pressure at Villa Park after a torrid start to the season, with just one win from the first nine games, and that solitary victory came all the way back on the opening day of the season with a 1-0 win over Bournemouth.
This weekend's game against Swansea City could be vital for Sherwood, with his future certainly in doubt - but Jenas doesn't believe that all of Villa's problems are Sherwood's fault.
After a summer which saw Villa lose Fabian Delph, Tom Cleverley and Christian Benteke, a number of new signings were brought in, buy very few of them have had any sort of success so far this term.
Now, Jenas has told Yahoo Sport that Villa are arrogant to expect anything more than a relegation battle this season due to their summer transfer policy, and claims that the Villa squad will suffer relegation whether Sherwood is sacked or not.
"From what I hear the players at Villa like Sherwood as a manager, so he hasn’t lost the group. Villa are where they deserve to be in the table simply based on the squad they have. When I was at QPR and we got promoted to the Premier League, we went into that season knowing we would be in a relegation fight. I don't understand why Villa are not in that mindset, or what gives them the arrogance to think otherwise."
"He was interested in buying established Premier League players like Aaron Lennon, Andros Townsend, Emmanuel Adebayor and Esteban Cambiasso, but instead they have signed a lot of young players from the French league. When you take into account the sales of Benteke and Delph, Villa’s net spend over the summer was just £7m, which is a pittance in Premier League terms."
"They were a bad team last season, who did well to avoid relegation, and now they are a worse team. They’ve lost their two best players. So what did Villa’s board expect to happen? I'm not sure Sherwood has been given what he wanted in terms of transfer targets, and now he is being asked to turn water into wine. That’s why I think Villa will get relegated, with or without Tim Sherwood," he added
It's a damning prediction from Jenas, but some of those summer signings - particularly Jordan Ayew, Adama Traore and Jordan Veretout - are taking a while to settle down at Villa Park, and unless they improve quickly, Villa will find themselves in the bottom three for most of the season, regardless of who the manager is.