Chelsea's midfield misfit Steve Sidwell could yet be joining Aston Villa revolution as Martin O'Neill looks to strengthen his squad ahead of the club's European competition this summer.
While the Stamford Bridge boys were preparing for tonight's All-England Champions League Final with Manchester United in Moscow, Sidwell was rumoured to be of major interest to Villa in a deal said to be worth around £5 million.
With Villa midfielder Gareth Barry yet to decide on his future, O'Neill has been forced to look at bolstering his engine room but is still adamant that any additions to the squad would come to join the England midhelder rather than replace him.
Sidwell, who joined Chelsea on a free transfer from Reading last summer, has made just 13 appearances for the side and is said to be desperate to play top flight football regularly again so that he can also rekindle his promising England career.
It is not the first time the player has been picked up on O'Neill's radar after the Northern Irishman first ran the rule over the player just after he had announced he was leaving the Royals.
Meanwhile, with the Gareth Barry saga still no nearer a conclusion, sources in Liverpool claim Rafa Benitez may be prepared to sacrihce winger Jermaine Pennant in his bid to coax the Villa skipper to Anheld.
O'Neill has already dismissed a proposed £10 million cash plus unnamed players offer from the Reds and insists his Captain Fantastic is not for sale at any price as he strives to build a team around the England regular.
After Liverpool's faxed offer to O'Neill, there was speculation that one of the players available on Anfield might be £15 million-rated striker Peter Crouch.
But Crouch has since been linked with a possible move to join Harry Redknapp at Portsmouth. Crouch worked with Redknapp at Southampton and is said to be keen to work with the FA Cup winning manager again.
A source close to Liverpool FC last night claimed Pennant had now emerged as another possible contender in Benitez's bid to prise Barry away.
O'Neill and club owner-chairman Randy Lerner met with Barry last week and have given him some time to go away and mull over his future after showing him a reported "wish list" of key players they want to bring in to Villa Park.
Pennant joined Liverpool from Villa's rivals Birmingham City in July 2006 in a £6 million deal soon after Blues' relegation from the top flight.
He has since gone on to impress on Merseyside where he has also put the early troubles of his career behind him including his time spent in jail and on a tag after a driving offence.