Aston Villa could suffer their biggest blow yet amid reported Chester interest

Steve Bruce, Manager of Aston Villa reacts during the Sky Bet Championship Play Off Final between Aston Villa and  Fulham at Wembley Stadium on May 26, 2018 in London, England.

Championship crisis club Aston Villa are losing a number of their key players with James Chester the latest linked with a move away from Villa Park.

Villa player James Chester in action during the Sky Bet Championship match between Aston Villa and Middlesbrough at Villa Park on September 12, 2017 in Birmingham, England.

With all the focus and the hype on Jack Grealish, Sam Johnstone, Robert Snodgrass, Lewis Grabban and John Terry, you may be surprised to learn that it was James Chester who won Aston Villa’s Player of the Year award.

The Welsh defender enjoyed a superb second season at Villa Park, forming an often impenetrable partnership with the 37-year-old Terry at centre-back as Steve Bruce’s side reached the play-off final.

Yes, the departures of Terry, Snodgrass, Grabban and Johnstone when their contracts and loan deals expired was a major blow with Villa in a dire financial situation and unable to afford new deals for the influential quartet.

Jack Grealish and John Terry of Aston Villa look dejected following the Sky Bet Championship Play Off Final between Aston Villa and  Fulham at Wembley Stadium on May 26, 2018 in London,...

And losing Jack Grealish will be a painful experience too, especially after the £30 million-rated playmaker enjoyed arguably the best run of form in his entire career in the last few months.

But Chester’s potential exit could perhaps be the biggest blow yet. According to the Birmingham Mail, four Premier League clubs are interested in signing the former Hull City and West Brom defender, who is understood to be valued at around £8 million.

Matty Taylor of Bristol City is challenged byJames Chester during the Sky Bet Championship match between Aston Villa and Bristol City at Villa Park on January 1, 2018 in Birmingham,...

Chester, however, is one of the few players at Villa Park who could be truly irreplaceable – and not just because of his excellent performances on the pitch.

The 29-year-old was a real leader in the dressing room too and, unlike Terry, potentially has his best years ahead of him. So if Chester leaves with the likes of Brighton and Burnley interested, finding a successor could be one of Bruce’s hardest tasks.

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