Ritchie De Laet looks on his way out of Aston Villa this summer, saying in a recent interview with Sporza that “this chapter is closed” and he’s “ready for the next step”. The 30-year-old is out of contract at Villa in the coming weeks and doesn’t look likely to be handed an extension given his lack of playing time since joining from Leicester City in 2016.
He said: “This chapter (at Villa) is closed. They (loaned me out) twice, although not under this coach, but I think I am now ready for the next step in my career. What the next step is? If I knew more, I would say it. But I don’t really know yet. I already said that Antwerp would be beautiful. That club is close to my heart.”
De Laet has made only 14 appearances for the Villans in the last three years, amassing a total of 791 minutes of football. He’s struggled for form, fitness and playing time in the Midlands and has been loaned out twice in the last 18 months as a result – Royal Antwerp (January 23, 2018 – June 30, 2018), Melbourne City (September 14, 2018 – June 30, 2019).
The right-back will be a free agent next month, but he shouldn’t be short of offers after a successful stint in the Australian A-League. De Laet made 26 appearances in all competitions for Melbourne, scoring and creating eight goals. The next move for the 30-year-old could well be a return to Belgium.
De Laet was born in Antwerpen and began his career at the local club, so it would be special for him to return in potentially the last big move of his career.
Stats from Transfermarkt.