Aston Villa’s players report back for training today – minus their three England internationals – with no new faces on show but with Martin O’Neill believed to have finally made contact with Middlesbrough concerning a possible double swoop.
O’Neill has long held an admiration for Turkey forward Tuncay Sanli, who shone in both games against Villa last season, and England left-winger Stewart Downing.
The problem for O’Neill is the asking price which is why, in a sellers’ market, he has not made a firm bid for either.
Boro are understood to want £20 million for the pair but Villa will not pay such an amount and it may other clubs to strike a fee with Boro before Villa enter the fray.
Downing will not be fit to play until October after suffering a broken foot, ironically under a Stiliyan Petrov challenge, at the end of last season.
Following a visit to a specialist he has been given clearance to start gym work and is due to have a pin, which was inserted in the fracture.
Middlesbrough value Downing at around £12 million, a fee they are likely to achieve with some ease if Tottenham can mount an offensive following the sale of Didier Zakora to Seville for £7.8?million.
Tuncay, who is still on holiday after an international-fuelled summer, is valued in the region of £8 million although such a figure is pie in the sky.
Everton are also thought to have made an informal bid for the Turk which fell short of the Teesside club’s valuation.
Meanwhile, Luke Young insists Martin Laursen’s retirement has been a real ‘eye opener’ and vowed to enjoy every moment of his remaining time in the game.
“Your age creeps up on you. Not so long ago, I felt like a young footballer making my way in the game. Now I’m pushing 30,” he said. “What happened to Martin Laursen has really opened up my eyes about the football industry.
“I’ve realised now that I’m only one match away from never playing again. I want to play well in every game anyway – I always give my all – but it’s important to really appreciate what you do.
“Also when you start getting close to 30-years-old, you really do need to have an idea or at least a think about what you might want to do when you retire from the game.”
He added: “I wouldn’t want to be a coach – I have seen the abuse they get from the players. If you want to stay in the game, you have to be a No.1. But that’s not something I’m looking to do.”
Villa have announced that a further 100 season tickets are being released for the forthcoming season.
The season tickets are for sale in the North Stand Lower. Adult season tickets are priced at £305 and under-16s seats cost just £105.