It goes without saying that Remi Garde’s Aston Villa have endured a torrid season so far. The Midlands club are currently rooted to the bottom of the Premier League and ten points adrift of safety, six behind Sunderland in 19th.
Considering these damning facts, it stands to reason that the Villains should have taken considerable steps in January to dig themselves out of the increasingly precarious situation they find themselves in.
Unfortunately for the Villa faithful, however, this belief doesn’t appear to be shared by the club’s owner.
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It’s no secret that Randy Lerner has been looking to sell the club for a while; it's been on the market since May 2014, but all proposed deals to bring in new owners have fallen through so far.
January brought the decision to install a new club chairman in the form of Steven Hollis, as Lerner took a back seat role in running the club - a move that many saw as an attempt to make Villa a more attractive purchase.
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Hollis was brought in to ‘shake things up’ and improve how the club is run, but based on Villa’s inexplicable inactivity during the January transfer window, it seems they're bracing themselves for the inevitable and now looking to rebuild in the Championship next term.
Whilst their closest relegation rivals have all partaken in the majority of Premier League spending over the last month, Villa have fallen flat with any attempts to bring in fresh faces.
Garde has only been able to look on with envy as Newcastle beat them in their attempt to bring Seydou Doumbia to the Premier League, adding to the signings of Andros Townsend and Jonjo Shelvey.
The Frenchman also looked on as Norwich strengthened by acquiring Steven Naismith from Everton and Patrick Bamford on loan from Chelsea.
These are the kind of deals that Garde’s side desperately needed last month. The Villa Park outfit have the worst goalscoring record in the league with just 18 goals, yet rumours linking them with Loic Remy and Newcastle-bound Doumbia failed to materialise.
This abject acceptance is telling and the problem seems to be that Villa give the impression of beaten club - one that has accepted their fate of being relegated from the Premier League.
Garde cut a forlorn figure during his most recent press conference, clearly dejected by his and Villa’s attempts to improve a team that has shown very little in terms of a mounting a successful survival bid. The air of negativity cannot be a particularly attractive proposition and probably goes some way to explaining why no one has rushed to board this sinking ship.
Relegation from the top flight would result in Villa missing out on the increased TV revenue up for grabs in the Premier League next season, as well as the stark reality that pay cuts would be necessary for all those involved.