First to attract their attention is 28-year-old West Bromwich Albion midfielder Jake Livermore, whose England ambitions won’t be met with the Baggies playing Championship football.
Capped by Gareth Southgate already this season, Livermore is in contention for England’s 2018 World Cup finals squad although competition for midfield places is fierce.
The former Tottenham and Hull City player joined Albion in 2016 but is desperate to remain in the Premier League. He left Hull City when they were relegated to the Championship and with Albion in the same predicament, he is set to depart another doomed club.
With that kind of track record, Steve Bruce might want to think twice about signing such bad luck. Villa are following the path trodden by Rafa Benitez’s Newcastle United side and are looking to recruit experience rather than raw talent.
The second target is footballing delinquent Joey Barton. The 35-year-old is currently serving a 13-month ban from the sport after breaking Football Association rules on betting.
Villa face competition from promotion rivals Cardiff City and Derby County while further down the footballing pyramid Fleetwood Town and Notts County are also interested.