1) Paul Lambert unsure over Vlaar future
Paul Lambert admits that he is unsure over the future of highly sought after centre-back Ron Vlaar.
The Aston Villa centre-back has been linked with a move away from Villa Park to a host of European clubs over the summer after an impressive World Cup campaign.
And his manager, Lambert, has revealed that he is unsure whether he will stay with Villa this season – although he did say that there has been no concrete offers for the 29-year-old so far.
“Nobody has even picked up the phone to ask about him,” Lambert said.
"If someone picks up the phone, then you talk. But nobody has."
''I'm not sure there is loyalty in football any more. So we'll have to wait and see [if he stays]. It will be entirely up to him.''
2) Alan Irvine excited by Brown Ideye
Alan Irvine has been impressed by West Bromwich Albion’s new buy Brown Ideye, after the striker completed a move to the Hawthorns this summer.
The Nigerian has had a lack of action of pre-season, but has still done enough to prove to Irvine – who admitted that he had never seen him play prior to Baggies purchasing him - that he was a good buy already.
“I said a few weeks ago that I’d never seen him play, but I’m not quite sure how I was supposed to see him play," Irvine explained.
"When I came in it was the close season, so it wasn’t possible to go and watch people.
“My way of finding out was to look at video clips and what I saw backed up what the recruitment people were saying.
“He’s a player that likes to go in behind. He can create chances for himself and he can score goals that other people make for him, so he’s got that instinct in terms of getting into good positions.
“Hopefully he will continue to show the kind of qualities that made the club follow him for a long time."
3) Max Clayton deal at stalemate
Max Clayton’s move to Wolverhampton Wanderers appears to have fallen through after the club could not agree compensation with Crewe for the youngster.
Clayton’s contract at the League One side expired at the summer, but because he is under 21 they are entitled to compensation and Wolves could not agree a fee.
As a result manager Kenny Jackett – who was a fan of Clayton, after he impressed on a trial – says that the deal will not be concluded in the near future, although he hasn’t ruled out going back in for him.
“It seems to have passed at present - we have a certain valuation and Crewe have a certain valuation and it hasn’t been agreed,” he said.
“We haven’t met that so he stopped training with us last week.
“He is a good young player and I think six to 18 months has some real development in him but right now for us to take someone at that price and tuck him underneath is not quite right."
4) Darren Bent issues Stoke warning
Darren Bent says that he is feeling great heading into the new season and wants to score against Stoke to prove it.
The striker has found first-team chances at Aston Villa hard to come by in recent times, but has been offered a reprieve this summer and he is determined to take it – starting by netting in the club’s opening Premier League match.
"I am feeling great and looking forward to the game against Stoke, as we all are," Bent said.
"I'm ready to impress and raring to go. I can't wait to score some important goals. I feel really positive. It's a fresh season and a fresh start for everybody.
"I've been really happy with pre-season. I've got game time under my belt, scored some goals and I feel confident about what's ahead for me and the team.
"I am hungry for goals, that goes without saying. I've been the same all my career, ever since I was a kid.
"I live for goals. I want to find the net for the club, which will obviously help us win games and push us up the table."
5) Gavin Gunning set for lengthy absence
Gavin Gunning’s Birmingham City career has not started in an ideal way, after he was ruled out for six months following an injury on his debut.
The defender damaged his posterior cruciate ligament during an innocuous collision with goalkeeper Colin Doyle on Tuesday night, in the side’s extra-time win over Cambridge United in the League Cup..
It means that Gunning is set for a lengthy spell on the treatment table and that is a blow for his manager, Lee Clark.
Can Bent revive his Villa career? How big a loss is Gunning?