Ritchie De Laet has told Dutch outlet Sporza that he would be leaving Aston Villa this summer as his contract with the Midlands club comes to an end.
The 30-year-old has been on fire for Melbourne City, during a loan spell from Aston Villa. Playing in a multitude of positions, De Laet starred for the Australian A-League side at right-back, right-wing, and even in the number 10 role.
Indeed, the former Manchester United man has scored seven goals in 28 games for Melbourne, but the chances of him returning to Aston Villa now look all but over.
De Laet joined Villa for £2.5million (The Sun) from Leicester City in the summer of 2016, but he has managed just 14 appearances since. He informed fans that he is ready for a “new chapter”, and is looking to leave Villa.
“I watched the match [play-off final] on television full of excitement,” De Laet said. “Aston Villa is a big club and I am glad they made it. But sporting this means nothing to me.”
“This chapter is closed. They lent me twice [Royal Antwerp and Melbourne] , although not under this coach [Steve Bruce, not Dean Smith], but I think I am now ready for the next step in my career.”
Villa need full-backs, but it is clear that De Laet simply has not lived up to his potential. He is not good enough for the Premier League at the moment, and at 30 years of age, a move to Belgium is likely to be on the cards.
Ahmed El Mohamady and Nail Taylor are certainly better options on each side of the defence. What Villa will be frustrated by, is the figure they paid in the summer of 2016 for a player that has managed just 14 outings.