Not so long ago, Aston Villa’s decision to sell Nathan Baker to Bristol City for about £3.9 million looked like a mistake.
Steve Bruce’s Villa were scrapping on the outskirts of the play-offs while the Robins were flying high and seemingly in with a genuine, if unexpected, chance of automatic promotion.
Flash forward to mid-February, however, and things have changed. Villa have risen to second place after a remarkable run of seven straight league wins.
Bristol City, meanwhile, have dropped to sixth and are now just three points clear of Preston North End. And Baker’s form has somewhat reflected that of his club of late.
He endured a horror show of an evening as his former club thrashed his current employers 5-0 at Villa Park on New Year’s Day. And, after being sent off in a recent clash with QPR, Baker hasn’t appeared since due to suspension.
In the meantime, Villa’s defence looks like arguably the Championship’s best right now. They have kept five clean sheets in their last seven games with John Terry and James Chester (below) forming one of the most formidable partnerships outside of the Premier League.
But do not let this fool you; Villa’s decision to sell their academy graduate Baker to a play-off rival still seems a little odd; especially when you consider that he has been superb all season barring a couple of dodgy displays since the turn of the year.
Baker has been one of the best players in the league’s surprise package while Villa are lacking a little depth at centre-back.
There is not much for Villa fans to complain about right now,but the decision to discard Baker could still come back to haunt them eventually.