FORMER Wanderers loanee Alan Hutton could still have a future at Aston Villa after being retained by the Midlands club.
The 29-year-old Scotland international played nine games for the Whites in the final third of last season and impressed boss Dougie Freedman.
The arrival of the former Tottenham and Rangers right-back was something of a coup for Wanderers at the time with the defender seeking first-team football after being frozen out at Villa Park.
But the publication of released and retained lists by Premier League clubs last week listed Hutton as one being kept on by Villains boss Paul Lambert, who appears to have wiped the slate clean.
Lambert said: “Everybody is even now, everybody’s level.
“It’s public what’s happened in the past and now everyone is on the same level playing field.”
Hutton has a year still to run on his reported £40,000-a-week contract but has not played in the Premier league for two years and it looked like his Villa career was over.
He will now report back for pre-season training at Villa Park, though could yet be sent out on loan again.
Freedman was happy to have Hutton on board last season but admitted it was unlikely he would return in 2014/15.
The Whites boss said: “Alan’s expectations of himself will be to go and play in the Premier League. “If that’s not the case at Villa, or at another Premier League club if he gets sold, and he wants to come back and play here, of course we would take him back.
“But Premier League wages are getting so huge that you are going to have to do deals, deals are going to have to be sponsored by Premier League players.”
Fellow ex-loanees Joe Mason and Kevin McNaughton have also been retained, by relegated Cardiff City, while Arsenal have also kept former Wanderers Benik Afobe and Ryo Miyaichi on their books.
Meanwhile, sources in Spain are linking the Gunners with a summer move for Benfica’s former Wanderer Rodrigo.