Date: 17th April 2008 at 9:48am
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Martin O’Neill has been talking about transfers from several different angles over the last few days, I guess he’ll have to get used to this more and more now we are once again approaching the silly season !

On the constant links he said: ‘I get letters saying: ‘I see we’re being linked with this Tom, Dick or Harry and why don’t we go for the really big boys? I ring them back and say: ‘I haven’t started the link!’.

I must admit I saw the link to Tom, I started the link to Dick but I’d not seen us linked to Harry?

In the Times today the Villa boss says there are a few players that he wants to secure on longer deals. With Gareth Barry, Ashley Young and Gabriel Agbonlahor impressing this season, he wants to make sure they aren’t tempted away: ‘We did say that we would be speaking to the people who have done so well at this club that they deserve their contracts to be looked at.’

However he has also said that if a player isn’t happy at Villa or wants to leave, he won’t stand in their way.

The Villa boss explained: ‘I am not going to presume on players good nature to stay around if they genuinely didn’t want to stay around. I think by the nature of what we are trying to achieve at Villa, I think there is something happening here. No, we haven’t rushed things but we intend to put a bigger, stronger squad together next year, please God. That is what we are trying to do.’

Adding, ‘We want to be up there challenging. And we haven’t done that yet. But as Sir Alex Ferguson says, it takes a fair length of time to get there. And time is something that people don’t have much of.’

He also told the Birmingham Mail that it is a good sign that other ‘big’ clubs are being linked with our players.

‘If people say it is a back-handed compliment that the big clubs are bound to be interested in our players, then I will take it. Arsene Wenger was fulsome in his praise for Gabby Agbonlahor when Gabby played really brilliantly in the game at Arsenal. Then of course you are having to fend off (all the press and rumours) that Arsenal are after Agbonlahor – things like that. But I take the point. It is a compliment. How much there is in these particular things – one never knows. But I think we should take it as a compliment.’

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