Date: 15th May 2008 at 10:42am
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The Guardian say, in a rumour that does seem to persist, that Villa are after Chelsea midfielder Steve Sidwell. Sidwell has failed to hold down a place at Chelsea, which to be fair is not exactly a disgrace, the ex Reading player is being mooted in the paper as a possibly Gareth Barry replacement. Martin O’Neill tried to sign the 25-year-old last summer and there is now talk of a £5million bid. Middlesbrough and Everton, amongst others, have also been linked.

Rumour Rating? The link might be a good one, it may well happen, but I don’t think he would be seen as a Barry replacement, we need to build a squad and the one in one out policy of the past should now end.

The Guardian also say that Villa are interested in Werder Bremen’s Brazilian playmaker Diego.

Another link and again, from the same paper, is Germany international midfielder Bernd Schneider.

Rumour ratings?
No idea on these but if we are looking to push to the next level, which I genuinely believe we are, then those sound the sort of quality we’ll need, especially as our midfield has been slightly week in the centre at times last season.

Now this one I like! Villa are being linked with Blackburn Rovers and former Arsenal winger David Bentley. The Daily Express claim that Villa have joined the queue of interested clubs. I’ve seen reports suggesting his value would be around £15million to stave off the resistance of Rovers not wanting to sell.

Rumour Rating? Blimey, I hope this one is right! Would be a fight to prize him away from Blackburn though.

The Daily Mail say that Villa are looking to sign free-agent Stephen Carr who was released by Newcastle at the end of the season. The 31-year-old right back also used to play for Tottenham Hotspur.

Rumour Rating? Why not, if he is free, he is at the very least cover for the right-back position and is combatative.

Portuguese defender Marco Caneira, who can play as centre-half or right-back, has been linked to a move from Valencia to Villa. Caneira has played for Sporting Lisbon, Benfica, Internazionale and Bordeaux, so has fantastic experience. He told Sky Sports: ‘From a personal point of view I am happy in Valencia, but on the pitch I need more minutes. If I am not of interest to Valencia, then it is feasible I will leave but only for a club with a good future and project.’

Rumour Rating? No idea at all. I guess you have to question why he has moved about so often and why Valencia loaned him to Sporting?

Thomas Sorensen has been linked to a move to Ipswich Town. Can’t understand why he hasn’t been snapped up, he is a good keeper!

Speculation continues about Gareth Barry. Some reports suggest that he will be held to his contract, of which there is two years to run. Others say we’d accept no less than £15million. MON said: ‘This is a big, big season coming up. We don’t want to lose out captain and top player when we are trying to put everything in place to drive the club forward.’

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