Tim Sherwood has promised changes with his Aston Villa squad during the summer, with a number of players coming and going.
The Blackburn Rovers title-winning captain replaced Paul Lambert at the helm of the Midlands giants in January, and was tasked with steering them away from relegation. This was achieved with one match to spare, although they ended the campaign with successive defeats as they prepared for an FA Cup final against Arsenal, their first appearance in the showpiece since 2000.
But Villa were outplayed at Wembley, as Arsene Wenger’s side went on to win the trophy for a record 12th time on the back of a convincing 4-0 win. Sherwood was clearly dejected after the match, and revealed that he has already told some of his players they don’t feature in his long-term plans as he aims to make some fairly drastic changes ahead of the 2015/15 campaign.
“There will be changes,” he said. “We know we need to improve and I think I can improve the group that are already here. We’ll start immediately. Some of the boys have already been told they won’t be here next year or they can go and find other clubs. I like to be that honest with them. I don’t want to let experienced players be strung along because I don’t think it’s right.
“We will be bringing in additions. This team has scraped relegation for the last four seasons and that’s not good enough for a team like Aston Villa. need to add to the squad and improve, but the group in that dressing room need to get better. We need to change some of their mentalities because they are quite used to losing football matches, which is not a good habit.”
Sherwood has already secured Scott Sinclair from Manchester City on a permanent basis following his loan spell at the club, and intends to do likewise with Manchester United’s Tom Cleverley. His biggest battle could be to retain the services of Christian Benteke, who ended the campaign with a flourish of goals and has subsequently been linked with both Chelsea and Liverpool.
“He has made no indication he wants to leave,” said Sherwood ahead of the Cup final. “He has a buyout clause. It would be impossible to stop him if they meet that. This is still a huge football club. I can’t make the decision for him. It’s up to him but I want him to stay. If he scores 30 goals next season then he can go to the best club in the world, the kid could be that good.”