Villa Park boss ready to sell midfielder as Anfield, White Hart Lane and Goodison Park boss’s form an orderly queue.
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Aston Villa midfielder Stephen Ireland has told manager Gerard Houllier that he wants to leave Villa Park in the January transfer window.
Ireland, 24, joined Villa in the summer as part of the deal that involved James Milner moving to Manchester City.
“He said he wanted to go in January,” said Houllier. “He said that to his agent. I’m not so convinced about that.
“Have I told him to move? No, no, no. Once a player wants to go, he goes. Simple as that.”
The Frenchman, who told Ireland to work harder soon after he succeeded Martin O’Neill, left the Irishman out of Villa’s squad for the recent derby with West Brom and has excluded him for Saturday’s match at Wigan.
“There is a discrepancy between what I see in training sometimes and what I see in the games. I told his agent that is his problem, he has got to sort that out,” said Houllier.
“I like the man, I like the player, he has got a skilled touch, he has got an eye for the pass, but he has got to adapt to modern football as well.”
However Houllier insisted that Villa will not allow Ireland – valued by City at £8m as part of the Milner transfer – to be sold cheaply.
“I think we will be looking to get the same kind of money back – the club probably would,” said the Villa boss. (BBC Sport)
It seems a little hard to believe that the decision to not really give Stephen Ireland much of a look in at Aston Villa is solely based on his footballing ability. Gerard Houllier just doesn’t appear to value the former Man City man but surely given the struggling form of the Midlands outfit the Irish midfielder should really have been handed more than just four Premier League starts in the three months the Frenchman has been in charge.
Liverpool, Everton and Tottenham are all said to be very interested in signing the 24 year old who not more than two years ago was considered one of the hottest prospects in the Premier League. If the playmaker is indeed available for a fee quoted then there will surely be no shortage of takers.
If you are a fan of either of the trio of clubs chasing Ireland, would you welcome such a move?
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