Date: 29th August 2008 at 8:54am
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The talk of the day is Gareth Barry as usual, oh no, hang on, that saga is over! My mistake, the talk of the day is Newcastle’s James Milner who the papers claim is on the verge of a move to Aston Villa for between £9million and £12million depending on which report you believe!

The Sun claim Villa will beat Everton to the signature and pay £12million. They further claim that both us and the Toffees have already agreed the fee. As other papers also pick up on, this could put Kevin Keegan at loggerheads with his board and the owner Mike Ashley as the Toon’s legendary King Kev wanted to keep the 22-year-old.

The Daily Express also quote £12million and claim our European chances will lure Milner back to Villa Park.

The Independent are reporting that Everton have joined the £10million race for Milner’s signature and says that David Moyes put in the offer yesterday, an bid that was then matched by Martin O’Neill.

The Independent are also reporting that our new signing Carlos Cuellar could be fit for the weekends game against Liverpool. The £7.8million signing from Rangers came to Villa Park with a calf injury but the defender is making good progress and might have been fit to play last night if not for the fact he was ineligible as we’d not signed him in time to register him. Martin O’Neill, said: ‘Carlos is doing well. It would have been great if he had been able to play a game before Sunday. I wish he had been eligible to play tonight. But he is making good progress. He has been training with us over the last two or three days and been doing really fine. He has done a lot of running as well. He is really keen to make his mark in the Premier League.’

Meanwhile Sporting Life report that Martin O’Neill has no problem at all playing Gareth Barry on Sunday v his would be suitors Liverpool. O’Neill said: ‘I am delighted Gareth is staying. It is a situation that three weeks ago I couldn’t have envisaged. In my mind I thought he would go. It is great that it didn’t materialise, a big lift for us all. You know the old cliche, ‘it’s like having a new player’, and actually in many aspects it is like that. I really am ecstatic and so are the dressing room. Gareth has a pretty good chance of starting on Sunday. I would say there was a pretty good chance of that happening.’

Meanwhile the Daily Mirror say Villa are weighing up a move for Standard Liege’s £5million rated midfielder Marouane Fellaini. It doesn’t state what sort of scales they use to weigh these things up. It was reported earlier in the week that Villa would have chief scout Ian Storey-Moore at the Champions League game v Liverpool where Standard Liege ran the Reds very close! The 20-year-old Belgium international was outstanding in that clash and a report I read earlier in the week said he was rated at around £10million.


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