Date: 9th July 2008 at 11:23am
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Oh how nice it is to be back in cold and wet England after 10 days in Portugal. How do they manage to live like that? They really suffer with blue skies, sun soaked beaches and fresh air!

Anyway, I predicted before I went away that all the action would happen, sadly I was totally wrong and we have still no one in. Still, ever the optimist, the first signing (Curtis Davies aside) can only be a matter of days, weeks or months away!

Supposed Villa target Peter Crouch looks set to re-sign for Portsmouth, so that is one rumour put to bed. What else is going on?

One report is claiming that Steve Sidwell is undergoing a medical today. Yesterday The Times reported that Sidwell was on the verge of a £5m move to Aston Villa, so if today’s report is true, it looks like we might have our Barry replacement!

The Daily Mirror says that Martin O’Neill wants £17m plus defender Steve Finnan for Gareth Barry and wants the money to be paid in two instalments over two years. The Times yesterday claimed that MON was set to accept £15million and Finnan.

The red top also claims we’ll bid £11million for Portugal right-back Miguel currently at Valencia.

The Mirror also say that both Villa and Blackburn are monitoring West Ham’s contract talks with Robert Green as they apparently stalled on Tuesday night.

Paper reports yesterday suggested that Blackburn would sell Villa target David Bentley but only for £17million. Spurs and Liverpool are also said to be tracking the England winger.

The Sun have claimed that Villa are once again looking to loan a keeper, this time Manchester United’s Ben Foster. They also repeated the links to Tottenham’s Paul Robinson and United States international Brad Guzan. I REALLY hope we aren’t going for another loan, for one thing that means two games (not including the FA Cup 3rd round tie v United!) where he can’t play + we are not a financially strapped club, so why are we looking at loan deals?

The Times have reported that we are looking at Spurs midfielder and former Fulham midfielder Steed Malbranque.

The Times also linked us to Sheffield Wednesday defender Frank Simek.

Another from earlier in the week had Villa, Spurs and Arsenal linked to Real Madrid midfielder Ruben de la Red.

The News Of The World claimed that Aston Villa want £2m more from Celtic as the clubs look at a swap deal involving Shaun Maloney and Lee Naylor.