Milan Baros will be allowed to leave Aston Villa this summer - but only if he has a fantastic World Cup and trebles his price tag.

Villa have confirmed reports that there is a clause in the Czech Republic international striker's contract allowing him to leave after this summer's World Cup finals in Germany. But the club have made it quite clear that they do not want their star asset to go, and that it would only happen if they received a crazy offer in excess of the £20 million mark.

And that sort of price tag would only become reality if Baros enjoys the sort of success this summer that he did two summers ago when he scored five goals for the Czech side to finish top scorer at Euro 2004.

"The reports are a bit misleading," said Villa's operations director Steve Stride. "Before anybody gets carried away, we're certainly not looking to sell Milan.

"Nobody should think that's the case. But there is a clause in his contract, that, if activated, would represent a massive profit for Aston Villa.

"There's been a lot of speculation over the weekend and we feel it's only right that the supporters know what the position is."

Even so, if that clause were somehow to be activated, and the club did cash in, losing Baros would not be considered a major disaster to the majority of Villa fans.

He has scored ten goals in 22 games this season, but he has not quite been the prolific marksman Villa fans were hoping for when the club paid Liverpool £6.5 million for the Champions League winner on a four-year contract last August.

On his most recent Premiership start at Blackburn Rovers a fortnight ago, some believed it was his wasteful finishing which triggered Villa's nightmare week of three away defeats.

And Baros won no friends when he made it quite clear which way his bread is buttered by putting country before club in the autumn.

He played for the Czech Republic despite suffering an Achilles tendon problem to help them qualify for the World Cup finals. At the time, he went six weeks without playing for Villa.

Baros is again out injured, having now missed two games with an ankle problem sustained in the FA Cup fifth round replay defeat at Manchester City. But manager David O'Leary is still hopeful of having him back for Saturday's daunting trip to Arsenal.

Skipper Olof Mellberg is also expected to report fit after the hamstring problem that kept him sidelined for Saturday's disappointing 0-0 home draw with Fulham. But O'Leary still fears that it is too early for James Milner to return following his debilitating virus.

All three of Villa's key absentees were badly missed against Fulham. But utility defender Aaron Hughes summed up the spirit in the camp as Villa look to end any outside chance of being sucked into a relegation battle.

"It was important to come away with a point if nothing else," said Hughes. "We don't want to be going into the last two or three games of the season looking over our shoulders.

"We just want to put it to rest that we are not going to get sucked into anything and we can then just go on and enjoy the rest of the season and finish on a bit of a high from a frustrating campaign.

"Everyone says they can't see Villa getting pulled into the battle to stay up but until we are there, we will just keep grinding on. Then we can go on and put a few performances together and give people something to smile about."

With all the flak flying about, stand-in skipper Gareth Barry admits that the current atmosphere is hard - but understandable.

"Sections of the fans are frustrated," he said. "Just like the players are. And, on Saturday, we just needed the goal that would have helped us go on, relax and win comfortably.

"But that's just the way it's going at the moment."