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Tuesday's gossip update


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Saturday saw the Mail reporting on one of the worst kept secrets. Namely that ex-Northern Ireland boss, Lawrie Sanchez, is after his ex-captain Aaron Hughes. I'd be surprised if Aaron along with compatriot & team-mate Steven Davis weren't playing for Sanchez come the start of the season.

Eric Djemba-Djemba was also reported to be close to quitting Aston Villa with the player reporting that he thinks he has little chance of changing Martin O'Neill's opinion of him. That'll be the opinion that Eric isn't good enough for regular football at Aston Villa. Later in the week there would be a report that Benfica had enquired about the twins' services for around the £700k mark. Not bad business that, if it came off.

Sporting Life reported that the 'noses were upping their attempts to recruit Villa 4th choice centreback Liam Ridgewell. I would be loathe to think we were helping to strengthen them in their attempts to stay up, but I also think there is definitely something in this rumour as they tried to sign him to replace Upson in January. There are various suggestions that neither O'Neill nor Ridgewell would mind the player crossing the unspoken divide of Birmingham, although quotes are, once again, thin on the ground. Sporting Life reported the fee could be as low as £2m which IMHO is a bit on the low side considering the massive improvements made by the player last season and his age. I think that if he was to move, we could hazard a guess at the type of reception he would get on his return. Ouch.

icBrum continued to link us to Royston Drenthe saying that we were likely to face stiff competition if we proceed with our interest.

Sunday saw us linked with Bolton Wanderers goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen. Jussi has rejected a contract offer from Bolton and with only 1 year left on his current deal Villa and Sunderland have allegedly started sniffing around. It seems that with our rumoured links to Artur Boruc of Celtic, Craig Gordon of Hearts and now Jaaskelainen, Tommy Sorensen's days are numbered at Villa Park. It would seem that Sunderland have already had an offer of around £3m turned down by Bolton who rate the keeper in the £5-6m bracket. That's a bit rich for someone with 1 year left on his deal !

Sunday also saw Chelsea putting the cat among the pigeons by announcing that Shaun Wright-Phillips could leave Stamford Bridge for £10m, less than half what he cost them 2 years ago. O'Neill is a known admirer of the player and as usual the likes of Spurs, Newcastle, Liverpool & West Ham are linked, as they've got a few quid in their pockets too.

Monday mainly revolved around the news that Thomas Sorensen is determined to hold on to his position as number 1 goalkeeper at Villa in the face of all these links to new goalkeepers, and also the news that Bruno Alves does not want to leave FC Porto. Tenuous links to Paul Robinson were also made... I must be honest, that particular link scares the daylights out of me !!

Tuesday's papers are reporting that there are now 6 Premiership clubs in for Royston Drenthe. Sunderland, West Ham, Arsenal, Aston Villa, Newcastle & Manchester City. The figure mentioned is €5 or £3.6m. Feyenoord do not want to sell him, but the lure of the Premiership might be too strong for the leftback/left winger.

The link to Jaaskelainen raises it's head again with Bolton confirming they want £6m which roughly translates to "we'll settle for £4.5m".

So far, just another quiet week with papers having to regurgitate old links and rehash new angles.

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So far if we believe the rumours villa have spent around 100million pounds or more on enough players to field four teams!

What I do like the look of is a midfield of Young (on the left), Barry, Petrov (centre midfield) and Wright-Phillips (on the right). Carew, Gabby and Moore rotating the striking duties with maybe one other to come in (whether that will be Forlan remains to be seen but certainly an experienced addition - and better than Smith who looks like has signed for Newcastle). Defensively I cant wait to see the Mellberg/Laursen combo get an extended run because we look solid at the back with them both in the side (Laursen WILL have a big year this year). With Boama taking left back that just leaves right back to fix. I'm happy for Sorensen to stay frankly as I dont think he was the problem. We shall she I guess. Frankly I will also be very dissappointed if Davis or Ridgewell leave. Were trying to build a squad, not just a great starting 11... thank god the holidays are almost over; we should start to see some transfer action in the next two weeks! And cant wait for the new kit as well!

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