By Peter Lynch

9th Nov, 2023 | 5:10pm

Leander Dendoncker exit on cards in January, Unai Emery can do without him at Aston Villa

Aston Villa have made plenty of smart signings in recent seasons, but they haven’t always got it spot on. And that was the case with midfielder Leander Dendoncker, who joined the club from Wolves last summer.

He is, of course, still at Villa Park, but his future is surely up in the air given his current situation. The Belgian was absolutely not a regular in his first season at the club, and that scenario has continued into the new campaign.

Dendoncker has been handed just a handful of minutes in the Premier League by Unai Emery, and has even barely been used in the Europa Conference League, despite the manager needing to rest key players in those matches.

The 28-year-old is clearly surplus to requirements at Villa Park, and Emery should look to move the player on in January in order to free up space and funds.

The Spaniard will more than likely not be able to recoup the £13million [Sky Sports, 2 September 2022] that was spent to bring the midfielder to the club, but a substantial fee could still be on the cards.

There is simply no way Dendoncker will budge Douglas Luiz or Boubacar Kamara from the starting XI, while summer signing Youri Tielemans is now ahead of him in the midfield pecking order.

The former Wolves man featured for just 11 minutes in the 2-0 defeat to Nottingham Forest on Sunday (5 November), and as per Sofascore, he lost both of his duels (0%), completed just 67% of his passes and lost possession of the ball twice.

In stark contrast Kamara, who played the majority of the match, lost the ball on just three occasions, while Tielemans, who was a second half substitute like Dendoncker, completed 95% of his passes and won three of his six duels [Sofascore].

It is simply time to move him on.

In other Aston Villa news, an 11% Villa man must be forced out of the club, Emery has no other choice.