Eastlands boss plans summer clear out.
Ashley Young is a target for Manchester City as Villa manager Martin O’Neill battles to hold on to his top stars.
City are ready to offload Craig Bellamy, Martin Petrov and Shaun Wright-Phillips in the summer and want to link Young on one wing with England hopeful Adam Johnson on the other.
Why Mancini must be allowed to finish the summer shake-up he’s already started at City, by David McDonnell
Bellamy’s future has been thrown into doubt after high-profile rows at Eastlands.
The 24-year-old Young has been one of Villa’s most consistent performers this season.
But City know that a number of Villa players are concerned that the club are more likely to sell this summer than beef up a squad that reached the Carling Cup final and last four of the FA Cup.
O’Neill insisted yesterday that he has had no official contact from City and also bristled at suggestions that they may move for James Milner.
Villa plan to open new contract talks with Milner at the end of the season.
He has two years left on his £45,000-a-week contract at Villa Park after arriving from Newcastle in August 2008 in a club-record £12m deal.
Manchester United have also been linked with Milner, but O’Neill said of the speculation: “It is irksome at this stage of the season.
“It doesn’t do anyone any favours particularly because the player has had a fantastic time and is enjoying his football immensely here.
“He has had a really brilliant time, particularly since moving into the middle of midfield and I am delighted for him.
“James is still under contract with us and it’s a case of dampening fires that weren’t there in the first place.
“We want the best players to stay here at Aston Villa so we can keep the momentum going.” (Daily Mirror)
You can’t blame Roberto Mancini for wanting to reshuffle his Eastlands pack in order to give his Man City squad a line up that more reflects the Italian’s plans as opposed to using players brought in by former managers.
Shaun Wright Phillips has seen his first team chances lessened by the arrival and emergence of young England starlet Adam Johnson and with Mancini looking to snap up James Milner it seems that Craig Bellamy may be shown the door as well, even though when called upon the Welshman has been a very effective attacking weapon since his arrival.
Clearly there is no real financial need for the City boss to offload players in order to finance a move for Aston Villa man Young but Roberto Mancini is probably keen to trim the wage bill at the club and reduce the amount of players sitting idly on the bench who could become a negative influence on the team as a whole.