Could Aston Villa make a start on next season by offloading high-earning stars this month?

New Aston Villa manager Steve Bruce during the press conference

Could any of the following leave Aston Villa this month?

Barnsley’s Tom Bradshaw celebrates after scoring their third goalBarnsley’s Tom Bradshaw celebrates

Aston Villa's promotion hopes are all but over following Tuesday's 3-1 home defeat to Barnsley, which left the Villans 19 points and 10 spots short of short of sixth-place Sheffield Wednesday.

And with the Villans' budget set to be cut next season due to a smaller installment of parachute payment, it might be in their interests to offload a number of unwanted high-earners ASAP.

Lucky for them, the transfer windows of cash-rich leagues such as Russia and China remain open throughout the month of February.

So which Villa players could be of interest to clubs further east?

Libor Kozak

Aston Villa's Libor Kozak

Hailing from Eastern Europe himself, Kozak may not be averse to a move to Russia in particular. The six-foot-three-inch frontman has played just twice for the Villans this season and already looks to leave at the end of his contract this summer. Getting rid of him early could ensure more first team action for the likes of Rushian Hepburn-Murphy and Keinan Davis.

Micah Richards

Aston Villa’s Micah Richards

Yet to feature since his injury, despite being fit for a month, Richards' future at Villa Park looks bleak. However, the defender's remaining two-and-a-half-year deal means Villa could be stuck with him for a while yet, unless some kind soul should come to take him away. Russia and China, in particular, are among the few that could afford him.

Alan Hutton

Aston Villa’s Alan Hutton at half time

The most involved of all three this season, although like Kozak, Hutton's deal is also up this summer. When fit, James Bree is likely to be ahead of the Scot in Villa's right-back pecking order, however, with Ritchie de Laet set to return in time for next season and Leandro Bacuna for cover in the meantime. Were an offer to come in for him this month, the Villans might well be tempted.

Which Aston Villa players would you like to see sold to China/Russia?

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