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Almstadt leaves rock-bottom Aston Villa as sporting director

Aston Villa have confirmed the departure of sporting director Hendrik Almstadt.

The German has left the struggling Premier League club by mutual consent after spending less than a year in the role.

"As part of the board's continuing assessment of Bodymoor Heath it intends to conduct a thorough recruitment process to find a replacement," a Villa statement confirmed.

Almstadt was appointed by chief executive Tom Fox after spending four years working behind the scenes at Arsenal, where he was involved in player scouting and financial and contract management.

Fox described his role as "misunderstood" in January as concerns began to grow over Villa's performances on the pitch and their failure to strengthen the squad during the transfer window.

Supporters also questioned the timing of his recent holiday to Dubai shortly after Villa posted losses of £27million last week.

Villa are bottom of the Premier League, nine points adrift of safety.