Steve Bruce says Aston Villa have too many strikers - but who will get the chop?

Aston Villa's Rudy Gestede misses a chance to score

Surely not McCormack? Or a returning Agbonlahor? The January transfer window is just over a month away, and the rumour mill is churning already.

With January on the horizon, Steve Bruce’s claims to the Birmingham Mail that Aston Villa may be looking to offload one of their many and varied forwards in the New Year has got fans speculating.

"I think we are a little bit unbalanced," he is quoted as saying by the Mail. "We have got six or seven strikers but are only playing with one, so I think we are unbalanced in that regard.”

Could Ross McCormack be flogged already? Will Rudy Gestede get the chop? Essentially, it’s like Bruce has left us on a Walking Dead-esque cliff-hanger, wondering who the axe will swing down upon.

So, without further ado, we rate their chances of survival. And, obviously, we can assume marquee signing and top scorer Jonathan Kodjia is safe. This isn’t Game of Thrones, after all.

Ross McCormack

In the summer, Villa splashed out over £25 million on a strike force capable of spearheading an immediate return to the top flight, as reported by Sky Sports. Just a few months later, The Villans could already cut their losses on one half of the deadly duopoly.

Aston Villa's Ross McCormack reacts after a missed chance

Injuries have restricted the Scotland international to just 13 Championship appearances, and a measly two goals, with the former Leeds and Fulham hitman yet to prove he can fit in to Bruce’s sole-striker gameplan.

Exitometer?

Low: Bruce told the Birmingham Mail recently that he would be relying on the 30-year-old when Ivorian international Kodjia departs for the African Cup of Nations in January. And, let’s not forget, he scored 66 goals in 135 Championship appearances prior to his summer switch to the second city.

Rudy Gestede

The towering hitman may have managed only seven starts this season, the last coming over a month ago against Fulham, but, on the flipside, a tally of four goals in that time is good going.

Then again, Gestede has netted just eight times in the league for Villa since scoring a debut winner at Bournemouth all the way back in August 2013. However, his power and frightening aerial thrust makes him the joker in Bruce’s pack.

Exitometer?

Possible. Despite being a proven Championship goalscorer, he has fallen down the pecking order under Bruce, with recent reports linking him to Hull and West Brom.

Aston Villa's Rudy Gestede misses a chance to score

Jordan Ayew

Two seasons ago, the younger of the Ayew brothers outscored Anthony Martial, Divock Origi and Michy Batshuayi in Ligue 1. In stark contrast, his most recent strike came against Reading at the Madejski. Ayew may not be the most natural finisher, two goals in 14 appearances tell their own story, but his dribbling ability and versatility means he has already cemented his place under Bruce.

Exitometer?

Low. He may have only hit the net once since Bruce took over, but excellent displays against Fulham and Brighton will not have gone unnoticed.

Libor Kozak

It’s almost three years since the former Lazio targetman broke his leg in training midway through his first season at Villa Park. He’s not scored in the league since, while managing just 333 minutes in the last two seasons. The 27-year-old continues to build up his fitness for the under-23s, though a return to the first team fold seems unlikely.

Exitometer?

High. Midlands rivals Birmingham City have previously shown an interest in taking him on loan, but would Villa deal with the devil?

Gabby Agbonlahor

Aston Villa's Gabriel Agbonlahor

His long Villa career appeared to be over when he lost the captains armband last season after being pictured allegedly partying on holiday while his boyhood club were tumbling out of the Premier League. To his credit, the one-club man has seized his second chance, wrestling his way back into contention under Bruce.

Exitometer?

Low. Bruce clearly feels he can coax the best out of this naturally gifted yet troubled footballer.

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