Middlesbrough, Forest set to offer high-profile Villa pair fresh starts


An Aston Villa pair who cost a combined £23 million could be set for departures from Villa Park with Championship clubs Middlesbrough and Nottingham Forest circling.

Jonathan Kodija (£15m) and James Chester (£8m) are the duo in question, with neither man making a significant impression on Dean Smith’s starting eleven since their return to the Premier League.

Centre-half Chester has made just two appearances in first-team competitive action this season (both in the domestic cup competitions), while striker Kodija has been restricted to just 111 minutes of league action, providing no goals in return.

Villa are currently in search of attacking reinforcements after the season-ending injury suffered by Brazilian Wesley Moraes, but recent comments from Dean Smith suggested Kodija would not be that man to fill the void.

Asked whether Kodija could depart in the current window, Smith said (via the Birmingham Mail) “Any player at any club, if a deal is given and it’s right for the selling club and buying club, then any of the players could (leave). But, will he go? I don’t know, that’s the honest answer.”

Chester, meanwhile, is yet to make a league appearance for the Villains this term despite battling back from a long-term absence due to a knee problem.

Now, a report from online publication HITC (which cites the Birmingham Mail) has revealed that the pair could be set for a new lease of life back in the Championship with Middlesbrough and Nottingham Forest respectively.

The article states that Forest are: ‘keen to offer Kodjia a fresh start’, while Boro are ‘admirers’ of Chester.

The report continues that Chester’s arrival to Johnathan Woodgate’s side would add a dose of much-needed experience to help nurture along their young corp of defenders including Dael Fry, Djed Spence and Hayden Coulson.


Forest, on the other hand, are on the lookout for striking competition for undisputed number one marksman Lewis Grabban.

Despite Kodija’s recent struggles, the Ivory Coast international (who has just six months remaining on his current deal) plundered two 19-goal seasons in the Championship with Bristol City and Villa respectively.

In further Championship transfer news, a rising Stoke City forward has amassed a suitors list of no fewer than six clubs, including a Premier League trio and Glasgow’s duo of heavyweights.