After back-to-back defeats to Norwich City and Sunderland, respectively, Villa need to accept that chasing Premier League survival in the transfer window is futile.
The Premier League ever-presents currently sit 11 points from safety at the foot of the table after taking just one win and eight points from 20 games, and while it is still mathematically possible that they could orchestrate an historic escape act, back-to-back defeats to relegation rivals Norwich City and Sunderland, respectively, over the festive period have left them with an Everest-sized mountain to climb.
Garde has reportedly been promised January funds to boost his struggling side’s survival hopes after failing to record a victory in his first nine games in charge, but while the club have been linked with some ambitious names such as Chelsea striker Loic Remy, two or three quality signings are simply not going to be enough to save them at this stage.
Realistically, Villa need around 30 points from their remaining games to even have a chance of retaining their top-flight status, and given that only five teams managed that over their first 18 fixtures this season, a survival push looks highly improbable.
In essence, throwing money around in January is not going to make a difference, and while it is completely understandable if those within the club do not want to admit defeat with five months of the campaign left, doing so may just be the best strategy for the future.
The Championship is not an easy league to escape from, as the likes of Leeds United, Nottingham Forest and Sheffield Wednesday have demonstrated over the years, but accepting relegation now could leave Villa in a much better position to bounce straight back than splashing out on high-profile signings who will not want to stick around once their fate is confirmed.
Youngsters like Gary Gardner, Lewis Kinsella, Jordan Lyden, Niall Mason, Callum Robinson and Jerell Sellars could all have roles to play at Villa Park next season following the anticipated first-team exodus over the summer, and testing them now with some Premier League experience will give the club a crucial head start on their preparations for life in the second tier.
That is not to say that Villa should not necessarily make any signings in January if the opportunity is there to bring in a player who they know would readily embrace the challenge of the Championship, but there is absolutely no sense at this point in chasing loan deals or splashing out like they did in 2011 for Darren Bent.
Had they picked up a win over recent weeks or simply just played better, short-term moves for Arsenal’s Mathieu Debuchy or Tottenham Hotspur’s Andros Townsend may have been practical, but nothing Garde’s men have shown of late suggests there is anything that can be done to save them.
Will the Frenchman still be in charge come next August when Villa face a trip to Burton Albion? Who knows, but if he is truly committed to a long-term reign in the Midlands then he, along with his superiors, may just have to accept that it is futile spending time, effort and valuable resources on a battle that cannot be won.