January could be a busy month for Aston Villa, with Steve Bruce keen on bolstering his ranks.
Aston Villa boss Steve Bruce will surely be looking to bolster his attacking options in January, as he looks to build a squad capable of making a sustained push for the automatic promotion spots.
With this in mind, here is a five point January transfer plan for Villa to consider...
1. Make Sam Johnstone's loan deal permanent:
The talented stopper has been ever present for the Villans in the Championship this season, and has really impressed with the certain level of authority that he has brought to Villa's defence.
The west Midlands outfit have the third best defensive record in the division - a feat that has been down in no small part to the Manchester United loanee's fine form.
The 24-year-old's superb displays have not gone unnoticed, however, so it will be vital for Bruce to sign him up on a permanent basis, before the competition for his signature becomes too stiff.
2. Sign an established striker:
FFP regulations will make it difficult for Villa to spend any kind of serious money in January, so Bruce will more than likely have to target the loan market.
There are plenty of potential options for the Villans, however, including the likes of Leicester City frontman Leonardo Ulloa, West Ham's Daifra Sakho and Bournemouth's Benik Afobe.
3. Find a system that suits the skill-set of Jack Grealish:
Bruce told reporters this weekend how he needs to find a way of fitting the talented youngster into is side, as quoted by AVFC.co.uk:
“We've got to find him a position in this team that suits him while keeping the balance too."
This will be vital for Villa, if they are to start picking up points in the games where the opposition sit back, and play 10 men behind the ball.
Grealish is arguably the Villans' most creative player, and they are undoubtedly stronger when he is in the side.
4. Sign a back-up centre-back to cover for John Terry and Chris Samba:
The Villa pair, at 37 and 33 respectively, cannot be relied upon to play an entire Championship campaign without getting injured, so the addition of another centre-half would be a wise move from Steve Bruce.
Again, a loan option would be highly likely, what with FFP restrictions.
With this in mind, Arsenal man Rob Holding would be the ideal addition for Villa. He has experience of playing in the lower leagues with Bolton, and possesses real quality.
Bringing him to Villa Park in January could prove to be pivotal to their hopes of earning promotion back to the Premier League.
5. Look at bringing another creative midfielder to the club:
As mentioned before, Villa are a little too reliant on Jack Grealish to provide them with a creativity from midfield - something that was highlighted during the 22-year-old's absence through injury.
Someone like Newcastle's Mo Diame - a player who can break the lines, could be an option for them.
Norwich City's Alex Pritchard could be another possibility, with the 24-year-old struggling for game-time at Carrow Road.
It will obviously be a tall order for Villa to accomplish all of these suggestions, but if they can at least prioritise three of them, they would be in great shape heading into the second half of the campaign.