It was January 2017 when Aston Villa, having only suffered relegation from the Premier League, were on yet another spending spree in the Championship as they aimed to get out of arguably the toughest league in the world.
Under the then-Villa manager Steve Bruce, the four-time promotion winner raided his fellow Championship rivals to sign the likes of James Bree, Conor Hourihane, Scott Hogan and Henri Lansbury.
Now, from the above players, only midfield duo Hourihane and Lansbury are in the first-team squad, with Bree on a season-long loan at Luton and striker Hogan, also on a season-long loan, trying to revive his career at struggling Stoke.
When Hourihane and Lansbury first arrived at Villa Park, a lot was made of the attack-minded midfield duo, who were hopefully going to bring some magic into a Villa midfield that had been starved of quality for a number of years.
Whilst Hourihane delivered the goods during Villa's promotion last season and has produced positive performances this term. It is fair to say that the same cannot be said of Lansbury's career at Villa Park, which, unfortunately, has gone in the opposite direction to the Irishman's.
Despite making the switch to the Midlands at the same time, Hourihane has played 132 games in a Villa shirt, scoring 28 goals and supplying 19 assists [transfermarkt], whilst the injury-hit and out-of-form Lansbury has played only 48 matches, netting the two goals and supplying eight assists [transfermarkt].
One area that hasn't worked for Dean Smith this season is finding the right formula in the middle of the park. Even when John McGinn was fit questions were being asked of the midfielders, as his recent injury forced the club to dip into the market and secure the services of Premier League winner, Danny Drinkwater [AVFC's official webite].
Now that Drinkwater has arrived, it does raise serious doubts about Lansbury's future at Villa Park, as this is now surely the end for the 2017 Bruce signing.
Whilst Hourihane has been in and out of the team, he can still be a threat and still features regularly in the Premier League compared to the Englishman.
And despite the two summer signings, Marvelous Nakamba and Douglas Luiz, frustrating fans with some of their performances, they too are still ahead of Lansbury in the pecking order, not forgetting the injured McGinn.
That leaves Lansbury as the sixth-choice midfielder at Villa Park and Jack Grealish, who has been playing out wide in recent months, hasn't even been included.
Simply put, Lansbury had a number of chances to prove his worth this season, but he simply didn't take his chances when it mattered most.
The prime example was Villa's FA Cup defeat to Fulham, where Smith sent out a clear message to his players that there are places up for grabs in his injury-hit and out-of-form squad. Not many players took their chance, especially Lansbury.
Therefore, it wouldn't be a surprise if he does end up parting ways with the club this month, as a loan deal to a Championship club might do him the world of good.
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