Aston Villa manager Martin O’Neill has dismissed reports he has bid for Portsmouth striker Jermain Defoe.

O’Neill is keen to strengthen his squad next month but stressed he has not yet made any offers to clubs for players.

Post and Mail writer Bill Howell maintains Villa are looking to push through a £10million deal for Jermain Defoe.

The Villa boss has been a long-term admirer of Defoe who looks destined to leave Fratton Park because of Portsmouth’s precarious financial position.

The player sat on the bench for most of Pompey’s 1-0 defeat by Arsenal on Sunday, making only a token appearance for the last few minutes.

But O’Neill said: “We have not inquired about any player at the moment so this idea we have bid zillions for some particular player is simply untrue.

“Obviously we are looking to improve the squad. The team has done phenomenally well but they have been on the go competitively since the middle of July.

“If you are trying to make progress in the Premiership, the FA Cup or the Uefa Cup then obviously we have got to have a look at players.

“But this idea that we are going to put bids in left, right and centre is nonsense.”

O’Neill is considering just where his squad needs strengthening, and he added: “The transfer window is just around the corner and is an opportunity.

“It is the chance to look at your squad and see what you need.”