James Collins has now been training with former club Aston Villa since the middle of September, but there is no indication yet about whether he will be offered a contract with the Championship team.
Villa are still suffering from a shortage of centre-backs, with James Chester and Axel Tuanzebe the only options at the disposal of new manager Dean Smith.
The Birmingham Mail reported that Collins, who is a free agent after being released by West Ham in the summer, was close to being offered a contract before Steve Bruce was sacked in October. And he now has to prove himself all over again with Smith in the hot seat.
“Everybody knows our lack of centre-backs, so I think it is right to keep him around us,” Smith admitted recently.
But do latest signs suggest that the former Brentford manager is edging towards an exciting alternative option? According to the Birmingham Mail, Aston Villa want to sign wonder kid Ethan Ampadu on loan from Chelsea.
While Ampadu is 17 years Collins’ junior, he may fit Dean Smith’s style better due to the manager’s ability to get the best out of young players. A Wales international with five caps, Ampadu is equally comfortable in central midfield and his excellent passing range will appeal to Smith’s free-flowing, possession-based principles.
Will Villa attempt to sign both or is Collins set for more time out of the game?