Duo close to Aston Villa exit after major Smith transfer U-turn

Date published: Friday 29th January 2021 8:40 - Neil Foster

Midfielder Henri Lansbury has reportedly agreed to move to Bristol City while defender Frederic Guilbert is closing on a loan move to Strasbourg.

Lansbury, 30, has failed to make a Premier League appearance this season. The former Arsenal player’s contribution has been limited to the Carabao Cup, where he started all three of Villa’s games.

Signed from Nottingham Forest in January 2017, Lansbury has never been a regular starter for the West Midlanders. It was reported in October last year that he was offered the chance to terminate his contract.

The club were keen to pay him off on reduced terms but the man from Enfield refused to play ball. He remained at the club with little prospect of any action and no place in the Premier League squad.

Manager Dean Smith seemed reluctant to let any players leave this month when speaking earlier in the season.

“I don’t envisage any players moving on,” he said. “You have a 25-man squad for a reason. Henri isn’t in that squad, he has the opportunity to work to get into the squad and he’s doing that at the moment. We need a squad for the rest of the season.”

But The Athletic are reporting that Lansbury will move to Ashton Gate after completing a medical on Friday night. He is set to join a club challenging for the Championship play-offs.

The Robins sit eighth in the second-tier standings but are just three points from sixth-placed Bournemouth.

Frenchman heading home

Defender Frederic Guilbert is also on the verge of leaving on loan for Strasbourg. The 26-year-old made 22 starts among 25 top-flight appearances for the Villans last term.

But, like Lansbury, he has been frozen out of the first-team picture in 2020-21. Matty Cash’s arrival seemed to signal the end of his time at the club.

He played twice in the EFL Cup and has been on the bench eight times in the league. Championship club Cardiff and Turkish giants Basaksehir have also been linked.


But it seems as though the Ligue 1 outfit have won the race for the man from Valognes. Journalist Pete O’Rourke claims he had agreed to join Les Coureurs on loan, with the option to buy.

Smith now appears to have changed his stance on player exits, saying: “There’s a possibility that both could go out, but a possibility that they could both stay.

“There’s only a couple of days to go and I’m not involved, that’s the sporting director and his team’s work, so I’ve not spoken to them about anything at the moment.

“There’s obviously talks going on around other clubs and their interest in the players.”


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