One of the biggest issues that Aston Villa faced over the summer – aside from their obvious financial woes – was their inability to bring in defensive cover for the current options at the club.
A lack of centre backs emerged thanks to John Terry’s departure as a player on a free transfer and the situation was not helped by Steve Bruce’s decision to offload Tommy Elphick on loan without signing a replacement.
It saw the likes of Mile Jedinak fill in in what was clearly an unnatural position and contributed to the former boss’ sacking, Dean Smith steadying the ship and utilising Axel Tuanzebe to fill the void.
One man who looked destined to join the club, having been confirmed to have been training with the Villans in a bid to earn a deal at the club, was former West Ham star James Collins.
In fact he had reportedly agreed a free transfer to join Smith and his men, the Mirror claiming that he had signed a £10,000-a-week, short term deal until 2019 to cover the current options and work towards earning a new and improved deal.
However, the same report says that an injury suffered hours after the deal was signed saw the veteran tear up the paperwork – a move which reportedly stunned the top brass at Villa Park and left them impressed with his attitude.
However, the Villans dodged a bullet by not getting him tied up to anything, for he is not the sort of player who is going to take Villa to where they need to be over the coming months.
Smith and his men are pushing for a play off spot come the end of the season and they need someone who can not only perform now but years down the line to fill the gap left by a lack of options and Collins does not tick those boxes.
A new centre back will almost certainly be arriving in January and with a settled back line already, it makes little sense to upset the apple cart with another short term option who might not be around in the new year.
A bullet dodged for Villa, who can use the cash saved towards a better investment in the new year.