Aston Villa have a big choice to make in relation to Ciaran Clark. They can either keep him beyond this season and work on a new deal during next season or they can cut their ties with him altogether this summer.
Likewise if Villa are relegated, Clark himself has a decision to make as he could look for an instant return to the Premier League by pushing for a transfer.
Clark’s contract at the club is set to expire in the summer of 2014, which means if the club don’t sell him either this summer or this January, he will walk away for free when his deal expires.
He has been a mainstay in the Aston Villa defence this season and has taken on the role of captain, which brings with it huge pressure for a 23-year-old at such a massive club.
The problem for him at Villa seems to be his consistency and maturity which has been questioned at points this season.
At times he has been completely dominant against opposition defences, using his natural strength and aggression to get the better of opponents over the course of 90 minutes.
However, he is prone to making very silly and odd errors at times around the pitch when he would be better served just by doing the basics.
The goal Villa conceded against Manchester City last night is the perfect example. He tried to impose himself on the opposition, he slipped, fell and Villa subsequently conceded a goal.
It’s just unfortunate for Aston Villa that they are having to use a lot of young players at the moment who will make more mistakes than their more experienced teammates and opponents.
Premier League pressure is now so high that if Villa do stay up this season, they will have to add to key areas of their squad to prevent this struggle from happening again next season.
Before the game last night, Villa had conceded the same number of goals this season than they did in the whole of last season so Clark’s role is going to come into question. Especially if the club is relegated.
He has to show bigger signs of improvement but they will come with a higher volume of games, which will create better levels of experience. It’s difficult because the club potentially has a very good and sustainable centre back, who’s just not showing it right now.
Villa fans, sell or keep?
image: © ell brown