Date: 17th July 2008 at 11:47am
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The Sun claim that both Newcastle and Everton are fighting for the signature of Tottenham right-back Pascal Chimbonda for around £4million. Villa had been linked with the Frenchman but those links seem to have dropped off in recent weeks.

The press are having a field day over the Gareth Barry with plenty of different reports. The Guardian say that the former (I assume!) Villa captain ‘was last night facing up to the sobering possibility of starting the season as an Aston Villa player, after it emerged that Rafael Benítez was beginning to explore other options in the transfer market.’ Liverpool are now being strongly linked to Spurs striker Robbie Keane. This report claims that Rafa is exasperated’ at Villa holding firm on the £18million valuation for the 27-year-old England midfielder.

The Daily Mail claim Barry’s return to training ‘descended into farce yesterday as he ended his first session back on the treatment table’ having picked up a foot injury. They say this injury will kill any thoughts of him returning to take part in this weekends Inter game v Odense BK.

The Sun say that Barry was able to avoid a face to face ‘confrontation’ with MON saying that the Villa boss snubbed the player. This is sensationalist reporting, MON wasn’t due in and left the training session to his coaches and assistant manager. MON was apparently trying to seal the signing of Blackburn keeper Brad Friedel. So there was no snub!

The Independent say that Arsenal boss Arsène Wenger’s interest in Gareth Barry is waning as he isn’t convinced the player is worth the £18million price set, however they have sold Alexander Hleb to Barcelona for £15million so would have the funds!

The Guardian say that Blackburn Rovers are looking to sign Scott Carson from Liverpool leaving Villa the chance to take Brad Friedel for £2.5million. This goes against the quotes from the Blackburn chairman last week saying Friedel was still in their plans

Links according to the official site today:

Michael Johnson (Man City)
Brad Friedel (Blackburn)
David Bentley (Blackburn)
Stewart Downing (Middlesbrough)
Anton Ferdinand (West Ham)

The Mirror expand on the Friedel link saying MON wants to sign him in time for the weekend Intertwobob cup game against Odense. The deadline is Friday for him to be able to play. The paper saying ‘Rovers do not want to lose Friedel, 37, but they are struggling to compete with the huge package O’Neill is willing to give him to move on a three-year deal.’

The Daily Mail yesterday linked both Everton and Aston Villa to Manchester City’s 20-year-old midfielder Michael Johnson.

The Birmingham Mail say Villa are confident of tying up the deal for Blackburn Rovers keeper Brad Friedel and are also confident of beating Spurs to the signing of David Bentley.