Aston Villa have announced the release eight of their players ahead of the club's return to the Premier League, including forgotten man Micah Richards.
Villa's return to the top flight of English football was confirmed after their 2-1 win over Derby at Wembley Stadium in the Championship playoff final, ensuring that they will be playing Premier League football for the first time since being relegated from the top flight three years ago.
With promotion to the Premier League also comes a step up in the quality of opposition and it looks as though Dean Smith is set for an overhaul of his squad to help boost their chances of survival next season, and space has been cleared to cater for those new signings.
The club released a statement on their official website confirming that they have released eight players ahead of the new season, with former Manchester City defender Richards one of the more high profile names heading for the exit door.
Joining him in leaving the club are Mile Jedinak, Alan Hutton, Tommy Elphick, Albert Adomah, Glenn Whelan, Ritchie De Laet and Mark Bunn.
Although many of the players released have top flight experience, Villa appear to be prepared to wipe the slate clean as they attempt to bolster their squad for next season - with a significant chunk of their wage bill now freed up to do just that.
The Villans have already been linked with a summer move for out-of-contract Chelsea captain Gary Cahill, while a swap deal involving Birmingham midfielder Jota appears to be nearing completion.