Ritchie De Laet left Aston Villa on loan in the January transfer window, to return to Belgium with Antwerp.

The 29 year old was frustrated under Steve Bruce and wanted regular games, unwilling to accept a bit-part role for the rest of the season.

Antwerp secured a buying option of around €2m, report HLN in their Thursday edition, but that price ‘weighs too heavily’ for the club, which would make one wonder why they ever agreed to it in the first place.

Another problem is that De Laet has a further year on his Aston Villa contract and a salary of €1.5m. The footballer is willing to take a pay cut, but there’s still a ‘large gap’ between what Antwerp want to pay and what he’ll go down to.

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HLN state that whatever happens in the play-off final could impact negatively on the potential move, and there doesn’t seem to be a great deal of optimism that all the hurdles can be jumped.

This could all be part of a plan to get Aston Villa to reduce that €2m figure, but the club could surely get that amount, or more, for De Laet from elsewhere.

In February, 29 year old De Laet told Het Belang van Limburg“The manager who had signed me was quickly gone, and then came the injury. His successor Steve Bruce felt that I had to be patient. But I am 29 years old, I want to play. That’s why I made it clear I wanted to be loaned. Antwerp was unfinished business.”