Aston Villa have distanced themselves from speculation linking them with imminent moves for Middlesbrough attacking duo Tuncay Sanli and Stewart Downing.
Villa are also likely to rule themselves out of the running for Barcelona striker Eidur Gudjohnsen despite being mentioned by the player’s father and agent.
Reports suggested that manager Martin O’Neill was weighing up a double swoop for Turkish playmaker Tuncay and England winger Downing, who impressed in both Premier League games against Villa last season.
Middlesbrough chief executive Keith Lamb is believed to have contacted Villa, along with a host of top flight clubs, to circulate the availability of the players with Boro keen to cut costs following their relegation to the Championship.
However, although O’Neill is a known admirer of the pair and will continue to monitor developments in the North-east during the close season, both players are fairly low down the manager’s summer wish-list of potential targets.
Downing is currently nursing a foot injury following a tackle by Villa midfielder Stiliyan Petrov in the penultimate game of the season but as Boro’s most saleable asset the left-winger is likely to leave Teesside when he returns to fitness.
Tuncay, who scored three times against Villa last season, is thought to favour a move back to his native Turkey, for whom he is the international captain, ahead of next year’s World Cup finals.
Gudjohnsen is also not regarded as a priority signing for O’Neill despite the former Chelsea forward’s father Arnor revealing Villa’s interest.
“I think that Eidur will leave Barcelona, but I am not sure where he will end up playing next,” said Gudjohnsen senior, who is also the Icelandic international’s advisor.
Villa defender Wilfred Bouma has revealed that his desire to repay the goodwill shown to him by the club is his primary motivation for returning to fitness.
The Dutch international set the record straight last week that his rehabilitation from a severe ankle problem is going well after erroneous reports that he was considering quitting the game.
Bouma, who has been sidelined since dislocating the joint almost a year ago, said: “The only thing on my mind is getting back out there. I can’t wait to put that claret and blue shirt on again.
“I want to be back playing with all the boys again because Villa have been brilliant with me and I want to give them something back for the support they have shown me.”