Former Villa captain James Chester’s anticipated move to Stoke City has gone through, bringing an end to his Aston Villa career.
Chester was one of the clubs most important signings in 2016, being drafted in after Villa had already conspired to lose their first two games following relegation from the Premier League.
The Welsh international was certainly one of the most consistent and able performers in a Villa squad that was as erratic as the then ownership regime was chaotic.
Steady, dependable and towards the end of his career often to be found playing on one leg following a bad knee injury whilst representing his country against Denmark. It was an ailment that should have seen him sidelined, but it stands as both a measure of the man and Villa’s lack of defensive options that he played on.
Chester out-lived both Roberto Di Matteo and Steve Bruce, and might conceivably have been part of Dean Smith’s plans had it not been for his knee being damaged ‘indefinitely‘.
Whilst he was the losing captain as Villa flopped against Fulham in the 2018 playoff final, it was telling that despite being unavailable the following season, Chester was the man to lift the trophy against Derby a year later.
After a further hamstring injury after Villa’s return to the top flight, he spent the second half of the 2019/20 campaign out on loan to Stoke, helping them to escape the drop to League 1.
Chester joins The Potters on a free transfer and if remaining injury free hopes to push for inclusion in the Wales Euro 2020 squad. The 31 year leaves Villa having made 119 appearances and scoring 12 times across his four year stay. We wish him well.
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