Report: Aston Villa looking to offload Joleon Lescott

The 33-year-old centre-back could reportedly have the remaining year of his contract paid off early if the club fail to find a suitor for his signature this summer.

Aston Villa will try to offload the under-fire Joleon Lescott this summer as they prepare for life in the Championship, according to the Daily Mail.

Lescott, 33, joined Villa from Midlands rivals West Bromwich Albion at the start of the season for an initial £1 million rising to £2 million with add-ons and has since made 27 total appearances for the club he grew up supporting, scoring two goals in the process.

The Birmingham-born defender has also worn the captain’s armband in the absence of regular skipper Micah Richards, but he has become the subject of intense criticism over recent months after a string of poor performances and controversial incidents.

He initially angered Villa fans with his conduct during January’s FA Cup game at Wycombe Wanderers, when he and fellow substitute Brad Guzan were alleged to have sworn at travelling supporters, before causing further outrage the following month after tweeting a picture of a £120,000 Mercedes in the wake of the club’s embarrassing 6-0 home defeat to Liverpool.

The ex-Manchester City man later insisted that the picture was sent accidentally from his pocket while he was driving home from the match, but he then made more unwanted headlines last weekend for his ill-advised comments following the club’s 1-0 loss at Manchester United.

The result finally confirmed that manager-less Villa would be playing second tier football next season after spending six months rooted to the bottom of the Premier League table, and Lescott described the news as a “weight off the shoulders”a remark which earned him widespread condemnation.

The veteran centre-back also stressed after the United game that he would be keen to remain at Villa Park to help the club in their bid to win promotion at the first time of asking, but the Daily Mail’s report suggests that he might not get the chance.

While the majority of Villa’s players are allegedly facing a 50 percent pay cut due to relegation clauses in their contracts, the club are still believed to be desperate to overhaul the squad in an effort to balance the books and repair a fragmented dressing room.

Lescott, whose reported £35,000-per-week deal expires in 2017, is an obvious candidate to be shown the exit door over the summer given his age and declining form and is said to be one of several veterans who are set to be deemed expendable.

Finding a potential suitor for the ex-England international will doubtless be easier than done, but the Daily Mail claim that Villa could ultimately explore the option of paying off the remainder of his contract early to ensure he leaves.

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