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Aston Villa legend Gareth Barry’s return would be ideal for all parties

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Photo: Getty Images

If Aston Villa are promoted back to the Premier League, one of the best signings they could make would be to bring back club legend Gareth Barry.

The Mirror say that the former captain is keen on a return as he is looking to relocate back to the Midlands but is desperate to still be playing top flight football next season, with a clause in his contract enabling him to escape if an unhappy spell at West Brom is brought to an end by relegation as seems inevitable.

The 37-year-old scored 47 goals in 401 games across a 12 year period in his last spell at Villa Park, but his top flight experience and quality could be key in midfield for Steve Bruce’s side.

(Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Granted, the likes of John Terry, Glenn Whelan and Mile Jedinak already possess that, but there are doubts over whether they would be able to lead the team in the Premier League, particularly in the case of the latter.

Barry would not only bring a feel good factor to the club but would also prove to be an upgrade on the likes of Jedinak in midfield, adding experience of playing at the top level alongside the less experienced likes of Conor Hourihane and Henri Lansbury.

The role could also give Barry the chance to begin his coaching career in Bruce’s set-up, something would be bound to appeal to him at a club which is clearly important to him and learning from an experienced manager.

The only sticking points may be his wages and just how much of a priority a holding midfielder would be for the Villans. With the likes of Whelan and Jedinak already featuring in that position as experienced options, Bruce is unlikely to want to add another without getting rid of one.

With promotion bound to force the club to improve across the field, that may not be his top priority this summer even if it would be the perfect opportunity to bring back a club legend.

Sam is a football journalist focusing on English football at all levels and Spanish football. He also writes for Spain's biggest daily sports newspaper, MARCA, as well as The Boot Room. Find Sam on Twitter at @samleveridge.

Aston Villa

After finally starting first Aston Villa game, Rushian Hepburn-Murphy must take chance

Aston Villa will hope Hepburn-Murphy can thrive at Villa Park.

Mathew Nash

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Aston Villa faced Yeovil in the League Cup this week. A solitary goal from Conor Hourihane gave the Championship side the win and advancement to the second round. It was also a game which saw Steve Bruce give a chance to several young talents.

One such player was forward Rushian Hepburn-Murphy. The 19-year-old may have made his debut under Tim Sherwood way back in 2015, but this was actually his first start for his hometown club.

Hepburn-Murphy has been in and around the first-team for some time. His goalscoring record with the development team is a testament to his talents and Aston Villa fans are backing him for success.

(Photo by Peter Haygarth/ActionPlus/Corbis via Getty Images)

He currently has a chance in the first-team and, he needs to take it now.

With Scott Hogan injured and Aston Villa not making big transfer moves so far this summer, suddenly Hepburn-Murphy has a chance to cement his place in the first-team picture.

The teenager, who has had to battle injury trouble in recent seasons, has the perfect opportunity in his hands. He worked tirelessly against Yeovil and that will put him in good stead. But a goal or two would get that monkey off his back and have Aston Villa fans calling for him to remain in Bruce’s plans.

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Aston Villa

Aston Villa’s hopes of getting Isaac Success now look doomed

The Nigerian forward has been included in the Watford squad for the season and even featured on the opening day of the season.

Mathew Nash

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The Premier League transfer window may be closed, but teams in the Championship can still make crucial additions. Aston Villa are still playing catch-up from their early summer financial issues and, therefore, could be active in the final two weeks they have.

One player that has been linked with a move to Villa Park is Watford attacker Isaac Success. As reported by TEAMtalk, Aston Villa had made a move for the Nigerian striker. A forgotten man at Vicarage Road, he had once cost £12.5 million to bring to Hertfordshire. However, Success found little of his namesake at Vicarage Road and is now down the pecking order with the Hornets.

But it looks as though any hopes of Aston Villa signing Success are slim.

(Photo by James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images)

Watford named their Premier League squad this week for the upcoming campaign. At number nine in the list, sits Success.

Watford failed in attempts to bring in another striker during the Premier League transfer window. With only Troy Deeney and Andre Gray ahead of him and Stefano Okaka and Adalberto Penaranda linked with moves abroad before the end of the month, Success is likely to stay.

Aston Villa will have to look elsewhere if they are going to find themselves a new striker for the season.

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Aston Villa

One to Watch: Jack Grealish proves Aston Villa worth in victory over Wigan

The 22-year-old has shown maturity far beyond his age.

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Photo: Getty Images

Jack Grealish saw his name float amongst the tabloids throughout the summer’s transfer window, where he was widely linked with a Premier League switch.

The England U21 international developed into one of the finest players outside of the top-flight last season and the general consensus is that the very top of the game is calling the 22-year-old, though he’s focused on Villa’s promotion push for now.

Tottenham Hotspur were the biggest suitors for Grealish in the summer, seeing a £25m bid rejected, and the club’s valuation of the midfielder was proven to be correct as he shone during a gloomy afternoon in the Midlands on Saturday.

(Photo by Neville Williams/Aston Villa FC via Getty Images)

Here, just days after the window slammed shut to end any chance of a move to the Premier League, Grealish got his head down and worked his socks off in a thrilling 3-2 victory over Wigan – looking bright on the ball and earning an electric reception from the home faithful.

It is little surprise that Villa want at least £30m for the midfield star and the reality is that a price in that region would still be a snip in the modern window for a player of Grealish’s capability – as identified by boss Steve Bruce.

“He reproduced the form that he produced last year that made him into a £30m footballer and he looked it today, every penny a £30m footballer. For me, he was head and shoulders above anyone else on the pitch. That’s how good he was.”

– Bruce was full of praise for Grealish after the game.

Bruce has proven to be a father figure in football for the midfielder, quickly putting his arm around Grealish after the final whistle following a game where Grealish was kicked from pillar to post by Wigan, doing well not to react.

It will be a tough test for Villa and Grealish this season, with Bruce’s side picked amongst the favourites to earn a return to the Premier League, with anything less being considered a failure, and Grealish expected to be the player that leads the charge to promotion.

In other campaigns that may have proven to be a concern but Grealish has shown an incredible amount of maturity in the recent months, choosing to focus on his football rather than get drawn into the lengthy sagas that emerge in the transfer market.

It wouldn’t have been surprising, perhaps even understood, if Grealish handed in a transfer request to seal a move to Tottenham, where he would become another England ace under the guidance of Mauricio Pochettino – potentially even have the chance to push into Gareth Southgate’s squad.

(Photo by Neville Williams/Aston Villa FC via Getty Images)

It’s the sort of situation that has been witnessed time and time before. Player’s head is turned, a player pushes for transfer, a transfer is completed – but the old saying that the grass is not always greener elsewhere would have likely to be proven true.

At Spurs, Grealish would not have been guaranteed first-team football every week, he would not have been a star man and would simply have been a member of Pochettino’s supporting cast – a polar opposite to where he stands at Villa.

Having the maturity to shun all the transfer talk, put his head down and show a performance like he did against Wigan proves once again that Grealish has all the capabilities to go right to the top. Staying at Villa was certainly the right decision and the young talent looks focused, determined and full of flair.

As he said just hours after the transfer window closed on Thursday, it’s time to get to work – and Grealish has hit the ground running.

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