Young Latest

Last updated : 21 January 2007 By Gary Holmes

Villa wait for Young

Martin O'Neill expects to discover this evening whether Ashley Young will become Aston Villa's record signing. Watford have already accepted a bid from Villa of almost £10 million for the most wanted player in the January transfer window.

Villa had been given permission on Thursday to speak to Young, 21, who can play up front or in midfield. Both parties were still discussing personal terms yesterday after Young had stayed in Birmingham overnight.

O'Neill said: "I had a brief chat with Ashley on Thursday, but there is a long way to go. I also spoke to his agent very late on Thursday. That's the state of play at this minute. I should reckon, by close of play on Saturday, that I will have a fair idea of the player's decision."

Coincidentally, that will be after Villa have played Watford in a Premiership match Young is expected to sit out, while the transfer machinations continue around him.

"I would like to see the player here," O'Neill said. "It would be great. He has fantastic potential and would be an excellent acquisition for us. I would like the opportunity of working with him at Villa. But I am certainly not going to rush it."

Young, at 5ft 9in and 9st 9lb one of the slightest players in the Premiership, has already turned down West Ham who made a bid of £9.65 million. Villa's overtures may go the same way if Tottenham, said to be the player's preferred choice, return with another bid before the window closes on Wednesday week.

"There is no point really in being hypothetical about something that might not materialise," O'Neill added. "But do I think Ashley is a good player? Absolutely." Daily Telegraph

O'Neill keen to complete Villa deal for Young

Ashley Young is expected to inform Martin O'Neill whether he has boarded the Watford bus for the last time before it swings out of Villa Park tonight.

The Watford striker is likely to be left out of today's match against Aston Villa while negotiations over his £9.65 million transfer between the clubs are concluded, but it is unlikely that Tottenham Hotspur, who had a players-plus-cash bid rejected last week, will hijack the deal during the 24-hour hiatus requested by the player to consider the move.

With personal terms unlikely to be a hindrance, considering Young rejected more than £50,000 a week to join West Ham United after Watford had accepted their relegation rivals' bid, the timing of the move appears to be the most sensitive stumbling block.

“Anything can happen, but I would be hopeful,” O'Neill said after meeting the 21-year-old yesterday. “Selling the football club to him wasn't particularly difficult. Regardless of what happens, I was really impressed with him. He's got the natural ability to play for England. With the Watford game, ironically, being part of the equation, I would reckon by close of play [tonight] I'd have a fair idea.” The Times

O'Neill out to beat Watford and plunder £9.6m Young

Aston Villa aim to plunder Watford twice over today - first by defeating the Premiership's bottom club at Villa Park to stem their slide down the table and then by capturing their 21-year-old attacker Ashley Young for a club record £9.6m.

Martin O'Neill, the Villa manager, has already agreed terms with Watford for the England Under-21 international and spoken to Young, who is unlikely to play this afternoon. "I reckon that by close of play on Saturday, I will have a fair idea [of the player's decision]," he said.

Villa's swoop for Young, who spurned West Ham earlier in the week, became public knowledge on Thursday. However, O'Neill admitted he would not feel comfortable until the player had actually signed. "I prefer not to be having this conversation. I'd rather be speaking about something I was more certain of."

Pressed to elaborate on the qualities that led him to watch Young "loads of times", the Northern Irishman added: "I think he could [play for England] because he has the natural ability. I believe he has the potential to go on to do great things."

O'Neill took away from their meeting a positive impression of the Stevenage-born, Arsenal-supporting Young as a person, as well as a striker with blistering pace, two-footedness and scoring prowess. "I actually think that selling this club to him wasn't particularly difficult," he said. "I don't know the innermost thoughts of people. But regardless of what happens, I was really impressed with him and his maturity." The Independent