Gareth Barry’s future at Aston Villa may not be the only topic of conversation at Villa Park next week.
The Villa captain has revealed he will hold further talks with manager Martin O’Neill when he returns from England’s friendly trip to Trinidad and Tobago but O’Neill may have a few more players and their agents knocking on his office door.
Strikers Marlon Harewood and Shaun Maloney have both hinted they could be set to depart for pastures new. Harewood’s agent Phil Sproson has revealed Stoke City, Fulham and Rangers are all interested in taking Harewood, while Maloney, who is away on international duty with Scotland, has told journalists he has been unhappy at the lack of starts he has made under O’Neill.
Harewood has become a terrace cult hero after some impressive performances as an impact substitute but at 28 years of age, the former West Ham front man wants regular first team action and Villa may want to do business if they are offered close to the £4 million they paid for him last July.
“Stoke are interested in Marlon, but clubs like Fulham and Rangers are also interested, so it’s a case of watch this space,” Sproson said.
Maloney has also become frustrated at the lack of starting action since he joined Villa from Celtic for £1 million in January, 2007, and said he was considering his future. He also believes his lack of action at Villa is jeopardizing his international career.
“I’ve got something to think about, yes,” said Maloney. “I have started to enjoy the club down south but I’ve just not played and I don’t think that’s ideal. We will see what happens in the next few months.
“One day, I would like to move back and play in Scotland but I’ve got a few years left at Villa, so we will see.
“It’s about time I staked a claim (for a Scotland place) but if I’m not playing regular football for my club, then I can’t expect to come in and play regularly for my country, so I think that has to change.”
One player who is definitely moving on is Czech midfielder Patrick Berger who has returned to his homeland after agreeing to join Sparta Prague.
The 34-year-old has signed a two-year deal with Sparta 13 years after leaving city rivals Slavia Prague.
Meanwhile, injured defender Curtis Davies has said his summer of hard work in the gym at Bodymoor Heath will be well worth it if he makes a quick and successful return in time for the new season
The England hopeful ended the season on the sidelines after rupturing his Achilles tendon in the 1-1 draw at Arsenal in March but is now well into a tough rehabilitation programme and aims to return ahead of schedule.
“I feel that I’m quite mentally strong, whether I’m fit or injured,” he said. “You have to get on with it, get your head down and work. That’s what I’ve been doing and I’ll carry on doing that through the summer because I’m determined to get back for the time I’ve said - September.
“I know the gaffer has said October or November but I’m determined to try and get back before that. I’ve got to make sure I do everything right. I’m not rushing it and I’ll do everything within the rules. Hopefully I can come back quickly.
“I’ve just got a two-week break and a lot of the lads have two months. But I don’t mind. The main thing for me is to get fit and I want to be fit as quickly as possible so I’m not going to go on holidays.
“I hate watching the games and not being involved. When you’re on the sidelines you can’t affect the outcome and it’s very frustrating.
“So I’m determined to be back in action as quickly as possible and if that means a lot of hard work this summer - that’s fine with me.”