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Analysing the Premier League relegation battle at the halfway stage

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With the January transfer window now open clubs across all four divisions will be looking to strengthen their squads and inject fresh momentum as we move into the second half of the season; none more so than those fighting against relegation to the Championship. With the new television deal kicking in next season – a staggering 70% increase on the current £3bn deal – the incentive to remain in the Premier League has never been greater. So how are things looking for those in the bottom 6?

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15th – Norwich – 23 points

As it stands Norwich sit 6 points clear of relegation with goal difference +7 better than Newcastle in 18th. After only one win in eleven games between September and mid-December Norwich hovered precariously above the relegation zone. However, 9 points from 12 over the festive period with wins over Man United, Aston Villa and Southampton has seen the Canaries soar up the table. With Cameron Jerome’s willing running up front and Nathan Redmond’s pace on the wing, Norwich will be confident of remaining in the Premier League. If Alex Neil can add a striker to help Jerome and Mbokani add to their combined total of 6 then Norwich should have enough to avoid any last day jitters.

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Aston Villa

Is Corey Blackett-Taylor’s in last chance saloon at Aston Villa?

The 20-year-old will be hoping to play for Aston Villa this season.

Mathew Nash

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Aston Villa are facing a difficult summer and, it seems, a difficult season. The club is in turmoil off the pitch. Since Aston Villa failed to win promotion to the Premier League it has emerged that the club is struggling financially. It appears they cannot currently sign players and are in fact trying to offload some of their current talent in order to get by.

With that in mind, Aston Villa may need to bring through some of their young players next season.

So is this season set to be a breakout campaign for attacker Corey Blackett-Taylor?

(Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

The 20-year-old has impressed for the Aston Villa youth teams in recent times and he has all the natural attributes to make it into the first-team set-up. Capable of playing on the right or left wing the England youth international signed a new deal with the club in April, suggesting he does have a future at Villa Park.

He played 15 times for the Aston Villa under-23s last season and was one of their best players. With four goals and two assists, he looked like a player ready to take the step up.

It has to be now, or it will surely be never. His extension is until next summer and the wideman turns 21-years-old in September.

If Blackett-s not playing regular football at Aston Villa next season, then his long-term future would seem to be elsewhere.

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Aston Villa

Burnley should pursue Aston Villa sensation Jack Grealish

Sean Dyche has signed quality from the Championship in the past.

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Jack Grealish
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Burnley boss Sean Dyche is one of the very best English managers currently plying their trade in the Premier League and it remains to be seen whether he will get a shot at one of the country’s biggest jobs.

Dyche has done an incredible job in establishing the Clarets as a Premier League outfit and their stunning campaign during 2017/18 saw the club rewarded with a place in the coming season’s Europa League.

The 47-year-old isn’t particularly interested in shopping for stellar recruits and with one of the top flight’s smallest budgets he has previously recruited especially well from the Championship.

Chris Wood, Jeff Hendrick, Charlie Taylor and Robbie Brady have all arrived at Turf Moor from second tier clubs in recent years and it is clear that Dyche is open to signing the league’s very best talent.

With Burnley about to embark on a European adventure the lure of joining the Lancashire-based club has now increased and Dyche might once again look towards the Championship to tempt Jack Grealish away from Aston Villa.

It seems unlikely that the 22-year-old will remain at Villa Park as the beaten Championship play-off finalists battle severe financial difficulties this summer, with several of their first-team set to be the subject of interest from elsewhere.

Grealish is one of the country’s hottest properties and although bigger clubs might be interested in acquiring his signature the chance to play regular first-team football in the Premier League, and in European competition, might act as a massive incentive for the player.

With the right manager overseeing his development Grealish could become of the of the best talents in the Premier League in future years and Dyche might be just the tonic for a player who has previously lost his way somewhat.

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Aston Villa

Missing out on Jonathan Ikone highlights Aston Villa demise

The winger has instead joined Lille, with Aston Villa not able to afford a deal.

Mathew Nash

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Jonathan Ikone has joined Lille, deciding he was never going to get the chances he felt he deserved at Paris Saint-Germain and has therefore headed to their Ligue 1 rivals. The deal is said to be worth €5 million (£4.4 million) and is a brilliant piece of business from the French side.

For Aston Villa, this will be a case of one that got away. As reported by Paris United the winger was on the radar for Aston Villa this summer.

Unfortunately, the club could only offer a loan deal and Ikone was ready for a permanent exit from the French capital.

(Photo credit should read JAY LAPRETE/AFP/Getty Images)

It is a striking fall financially from Aston Villa that they can no longer afford what may turn out to be a bargain £4.4 million for one of France’s more talented young players.

The club that spent so heavily to bring the likes of Scott Hogan, Ross McCormack and Jonathan Kodjia to Villa Park are now in serious peril.

After two failed promotion attempts Aston Villa are now into their third year in the Championship and are, therefore, out of parachute payments.

The overspending has left them short of Financial Fair Play and it seems things are not going well behind the scenes.

Ikone is a player that, in any of the last three or four summers, Aston Villa could easily have snapped up. It is an indicator of their troubles that he has slipped through their fingers.

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