Steve Bruce is warning Aston Villa supporters to prepare for a fire sale as the cash-strapped club look to raise much-needed funds.
The Sky Bet Championship outfit reportedly need to raise £40-45million to meet Financial Fair Play regulations, and Bruce fears other sides will take advantage to cherry-pick their top talent for a fraction of their true value.
Jack Grealish, player of the year James Chester, Ivory Coast international Jonathan Kodjia and last season’s top scorer Albert Adomah are all attracting interest.
“I’ve accepted it and committed myself to the cause, and I think it’s better to be open and honest with the supporters and say how it is,” Bruce told Sky Sports News.
“We don’t want to lose Grealish, Kodjia, Chester, but the inevitability is that we might have to, so let’s get ready for it.
“We have to keep the club up and running and keep it in line with Financial Fair Play.
“We might have to take decisions which aren’t going to be easy. We will have to generate some money and inevitably that’s going to be through player sales.
“And it’s going to be people who I don’t want to sell. Jack is the obvious one that clubs are going to look at.
“You don’t want to lose him but the inevitable thing is, we have to.
“People will know we’ve got financial problems and they’ll sit and wait until deadline day possibly. I hope that doesn’t happen but we’ve got to wait for it.
“It’s pretty brutal stuff out there. There’s nobody going to feel sorry for Aston Villa because financially we’ve got ourselves into a bit of a pickle.
“We’re having a tough time at the moment but we’ve got to try and steer our way through it and ride the storm.”