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Aston Villa Begin Talks to Sign Manchester City Playmaker Stephen Ireland

Eastlands bit part player set for Villa Park deal?

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A Dejected Stephen Ireland after Michael Owen's 4th Goal Winner Manchester City 2009/10 Manchester United V Manchester City (4-3) 20/09/09 The Premier League Photo Robin Parker Fotosports International

Skysports.com understands Stephen Ireland is in talks with Aston Villa over a possible move from Manchester City.

Ireland has been linked with a move to Villa as part of the deal to take James Milner to Eastlands.

City are closing in on the signing of long-term target Milner and they are believed to be ready to offer £8million-rated Ireland in part-exchange for Milner.

Ireland’s future at City has been the subject of speculation for some time with the 23-year-old struggling to hold down a place in Roberto Mancini’s side last season.

The arrivals of David Silva and Yaya Toure have pushed Ireland further down the pecking order at Eastlands and the introudction of 25-man squads in the Premier League appears to have made the midfielder surplus to requirements.

Villa are keen on bringing the former Republic of Ireland international to Villa Park, despite the departure of Martin O’Neill earlier this week.

Ireland is believed to have held talks with Villa officials on Tuesday as he weighs up a move to the Midlands.

If Ireland agrees to make the move to Villa it could help pave the way for Milner to move in the opposite direction. (Sky Sports)

One wonders if Stephen Ireland will be quite so keen to move to Villa Park given Martin O’Neill’s exit but perhaps the prospect of not making Manchester City’s 25 man Premier League squad is enough to make the Irishman accept a move to the troubled Midlands club.

The 23 year old has a lot to offer but doesn’t appear to be a player that Roberto Mancini rates too highly and a move to Aston Villa could well help rejuvenate a career that seems to be stuttering of late. Whomever takes the permanent position at the Villa will hope that he can keep hold of the big names that appear to be linked with moves away from the club.

James Milner looks set to leave but the likes of Ashley Young could also be part of the exodus away from the club that could be on the verge of a mini crisis unless owner Randy Lerner can appoint a new boss who can help get the club back on track.

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