Alan Hutton’s move to Aston Villa in 2011 made sense. Frozen out at Tottenham, the Scottish defender had a chance to reinvigorate his career at the Birmingham-based club.
Fast-forward to the present and the right-back faces despair, as he has not featured in the Premier League for 18 months.
Paul Lambert has stated that the defender’s wages, believed to be in the region of £40,000 per week, are the reason for the player’s expulsion and that he actually felt sorry for the ex-Rangers man.
At 29 years old, Hutton is in real need of a move in the summer, as his current situation where he rots away in the Villa Park sidelines is a real waste of talent.
A product of the Ibrox youth academy, Hutton made his senior debut for the Glasgow giants in 2002 and featured for Rangers for six years.
During his time in Scotland, Hutton established himself as an attacking full-back with ambition. He broke into the international fold, and caught the eye of plenty of Premier League clubs.
Tottenham were the side to shell out £9 million for the Scot in January 2008, with the defender slotting straight into the White Hart Lane side.
Over the course of three years in North London Hutton made over 50 Premier League appearances for Spurs and was a constant figure in Harry Redknapp’s side that excelled in the 2010-11 Champions League.
After spending a loan spell at Sunderland, Hutton suffered as a result of the rise of Kyle Walker, who claimed the Spurs right-back position his own.
In his first season at Villa, 2011-12, Hutton was the side’s first-choice at right-back under former boss Alex McLeish. However, when his countryman was dismissed, the defender’s chances to play dried up.
Hutton has since been farmed out on loan to Nottingham Forest and Mallorca, with his time in Spain a positive experience. However, the Iberostar Stadium outfit could not negotiate a permanent deal for the Scot and he has been on the outskirts at Villa again this term, without a single minute of first-team football.
At his best Hutton can be a real attacking weapon, as his confidence on the ball and ability to get forward are assets to a side’s offensive ambitions. At his worst, a disregard for defending and naïve positional sense means he can become a liability.
Despite this, the last two years of Hutton’s career have been a complete non-event, with the defender’s talents wasted.
It is baffling that the star has not secured a move elsewhere, even on loan, and it seems like a case of finances.
Villa need to cut their losses and although they will be keen to redeem as high a percentage of the fee they paid to Tottenham for his services, realistically Hutton should be let go for next to nothing to rid the club of his wages.
Hutton’s stock has dropped so considerably that he will need to drop his salary demands also. With a contract that does not expire until the summer of 2015, he faces the potential for the current desperate situation dragging out for another year and more.
If fit and firing, Hutton is a Premier League and international player, but at the moment his position at Villa is untenable.