Reports have recently claimed that Villa are targeting proven players at Championship level as they prepare to drop out of the top-flight.
Aston Villa manager Remi Garde has refuted suggestions that the club are preparing for life in the Championship by asking scouts to size up potential January signings with experience outside the Premier League.
Villa currently sit 11 points from safety at the foot of the table with only eight points from 20 games and have not won a top-flight fixture since beating Bournemouth 1-0 in their season opener.
Back-to-back defeats to Norwich City and Sunderland, respectively, over the past two matches have left them with a mountain to climb to beat the drop and most now have them pegged as relegation certainties.
As a result, the likes of the Mirror reported earlier this week that Villa are now aiming to get a head start on next term by targeting potential cheap recruits who are fully familiar with the Championship and will prove a better fit for the second tier than the host of foreign signings from last summer.
However, Garde was quick to quash those claims when speaking at his pre-match press conference ahead of Saturday’s third round FA Cup clash with Wycombe Wanderers, telling reporters: “I’m preparing to win the next game. I’m preparing to win the next FA Cup game, as well as the next Premier League games. I’m focused only on that – to try to bring players that could help me to win the next game.
“I told you, I will be the last man at this football club, or maybe in this city, to believe that we can still win the next game and stay in the Premier League.
“I’m working this way. I’m not working to prepare to win any other league in the future.”
Unsurprisingly, plenty expect Villa to have a tough time attracting any big-name players to the Midlands this month given their current predicament, but Garde stressed that there is a lot of work being done behind the scenes at present to boot his struggling side’s survival hopes.
Asked about how much transfer talk has taken place at the club since the window opened, the Frenchman said: “A lot, to be fair. As you can imagine, agents and all these people around players are calling everybody at the club, including scouts and me, of course, because I’ve got quite a different network to what the club has had previously. I’m working a lot.
“Of course, I’m fully committing to the training sessions, because for me this is the part of the job which I cannot delegate. I want to see the players practising every day because for me it is such an important part, but once I’ve finished this I’m totally focused on trying to attract players for Villa.”