Despite looking down and out for a large portion of the season, a dramatic late revival saw Aston Villa retain their Premier League status for another season.
After a summer of significant investment, many expected the Lions to be competing for a place in mid-table – but after a number of signings struggled to bed in, it was down to Jack Grealish to save his boyhood club on the final day.
Now, Villa must look to reinvigorate themselves this summer, and they have plenty of work to do in the transfer window. Here, 90min takes a peak at who should stay and who should go in the Midlands.
Tom Heaton (Stay) – Kept four clean sheets in 20 appearances before injury midway through the season ruled him out for the rest of the campaign. Should, when he recovers, remain the club’s number one.
Pepe Reina (Go) – The former Liverpool stopper signed for Villa on loan following Heaton’s injury. Played 12 times for the club, but will now be heading back to parent club AC Milan.
Orjan Nyland (Stay) – Will forever be remembered for getting away with murder against Sheffield United, but also showed flashes of brilliance – most notably in the Carabao Cup win over Leicester. Good enough to deputise, but may slip behind Jed Steer in the pecking order if he’s not careful.
Jed Steer (Stay) – The hero of Villa’s promotion last year was unfortunate to miss almost the entirety of the season with an Achilles injury. Will be allowed to stay and fight for his Premier League place.
Lovre Kalinic (Go) – Signed in January 2019 from Belgian side KAA Gent, things haven’t gone to plan for the Croatian. Featured just seven times in the Championship before being benched, and was farmed out on loan to Toulouse – where he was injured and barely played.
Neil Taylor (Go) – Taylor’s best days are seemingly behind him and he has struggled to keep up with the intensity of the Premier League. With his contract expiring next summer, Villa should look to move him on and upgrade.
Ahmed Elmohamady (Stay) – Elmohamady has predominately played second fiddle to Frederic Guilbert this season, however, a reduced role may suit the ageing full-back. Is still blessed with good crossing and long range passing ability, as well as having an experienced head.
Frederic Guilbert (Stay) – The former France Under-21 international was very impressive in his debut campaign, although his progress was stunted by injury. Warrants another season in the Midlands.
Matt Targett (Stay) – Eyebrows were raised last summer when Villa invested heavily in the former Southampton left-back, but he’s become a regular – and impressive at times – fixture in the side. More than capable going forward, he has work to do heading in the other direction.
Kortney Hause (Stay) – After failing to feature until just before Christmas, Hause established himself in Villa’s starting XI in the second half of the season – forming a solid, and ultimately season saving, partnership with Tyrone Mings.
Tyrone Mings (Stay) – Villa’s marquee signing last summer got better as the campaign went on, finishing with a 73% success rate in the tackle. Also made 189 clearances and it’s no surprise to learn that he was the orchestrator of their defensive improvement after lockdown.
Ezri Konsa (Stay) – Also arriving in last summer’s window, Konsa initially struggled to find his feet in the Premier League. In the latter half of the season however, his performances improved and at just 22, has shown enough promise to warrant another chance next season.
Bjorn Engels (Stay) – Featured just six times after Christmas because of injury, but will probably stick around as he looks to regain his place in the side.
James Bree (Go) – Has found chances hard to come by at Villa and spent the season on loan with Luton Town. With his contract expiring at the end of next season, the club should look to cash in.
James Chester (Go) – Released by the club following the expiration of his contract.
John McGinn (Stay) – Had a brilliant start to life in the Premier League scoring three goals and setting up another two. Injury saw him ruled out for a significant portion of the campaign but he’ll be a key player for Villa next season.
Henri Lansbury (Go) – It hasn’t worked out for Lansbury at Villa Park. Now going into the last year of his contract, a move back to the Championship would suit all parties.
Douglas Luiz (Stay) – The Brazilian enjoyed a fine debut season in the Premier League, especially impressing upon the restart. With rumours that Man City may seek to bring the player back to the Etihad, Villa may have a fight on their hands to keep him.
Conor Hourihane (Stay) – The unsung hero of Villa’s season. The former Barnsley captain has been in fine form this year, scoring three and assisting a further five. While many of the plaudits may go elsewhere, Hourihane deserves recognition for his consistent performances.
Marvelous Nakamba (Go) – Great name, unfortunately, not a great player. Hasn’t impressed this season and Villa should look to recoup some of the £10m they signed him for last summer.
Jota (Go) – The first direct transfer dealing between Birmingham and Villa for 36 years is not one that’s worked out. Time to go.
Mahmoud Trezeguet (Stay) – Another player signed in last summer’s overhaul. Has scored some important goals for the Villa this year notably, the winner against Arsenal, but must improve his consistency.
Anwar El Ghazi (Stay) – Like Trezeguet, El Ghazi has been good in flashes – but that’s not good enough at the highest level. Must do better next time round.
Jack Grealish (Stay) – Villa’s star man. Grealish has been in scintillating form this season and naturally will be of substantial interest elsewhere. With the big teams circling it may be difficult for Villa to keep hold of a player who has been with the club since he was six.
Indiana Vassilev (Loan) – The young winger made his debut for Villa this year, but with just 47 minutes of first-team action he may be best served by going out on loan.
Wesley (Stay) – Five goals in 21 appearances isn’t the return Villa would have hoped for when they signed the Brazilian last summer. However with a large fee paid and long-term injury ending Wesley’s season, he may be difficult to move on. Should be given another go.
Mbwana Samatta (Go) – Signed to replace the injured Wesley, it has been a tough few months for the striker. With only one goal in 14 appearances, Samatta has looked out of his depth in the Premier League.
Keinan Davis (Loan) – The young striker has shown his quality in flashes this season but has struggled with consistency and is yet to find the net in the league. A loan to the Championship in search of regular game time may be a necessary step in the forward’s development.
Scott Hogan (Go) – Not in Dean Smith’s plans, the striker spent the season first on loan at Stoke and then at rivals Birmingham City. Now entering the final year of his contract, Villa will look to cut ties permanently.