Could Villa's struggles actually give them a huge transfer-market advantage?

It's a long shot - but accepting disaster could mean a brighter future for Aston Villa.

There are two ways of looking at Aston Villa's perilous position if you try hard enough.

Like any sporting failure, the short-term view is disastrous. Villa have been a mainstay in the Premier League and to finally lose the battle against the drop would be heart-breaking for any fan.

But there is always a 'tomorrow' in life (not just in football). Were Remi Garde's men to miraculously stay up this season, would it really do them any good in the long term?

Obviously, staying up is always better than going down. Yet survival looks like it would just be greeted by complacency within the Villa hierarchy.

Relegation, however, gives Villa the following...

It gives them eight months to prepare the perfect team to try and get the club straight back to the Premier League.

As Mark Lawrenson suggested over the weekend, Aston Villa can buy players with an eye on the Championship. They can assess who they want to keep and who they want gone early. Why spend millions and go down when they can cut their losses and plan well in advance?

Of course, that's only if Villa are capable of planning long term. Their failures in the transfer market to date suggest otherwise.

But there is a bright side - if the hierarchy want to take advantage of it. No team has ever had this long to plan for a promotion campaign.

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