Aston Villa have targeted the Middlesbrough defender Luke Young as Martin O’Neill steps up his attempts to recruit a recognised right-back before the start of the season.
It is understood that Villa have already approached Boro about acquiring Young and that Gareth Southgate is reluctantly considering whether to let Young leave after only about 12 months on Teesside.
Middlesbrough paid Ã‚Â£2.5 million for Young last July from Charlton Athletic and it is likely that Southgate would demand a significantly higher fee to release the 29 year old English international.
Despite the Boro boss saying last weekend that “we’re not looking to lose players” keeping Young, who started all but three Premier League matches last season, may prove difficult in the face of interest from Villa.
O’Neill had been keen on recruiting a right-back last season but was unable to fill the position before the start of the season and had little option but to move Olof Mellberg from his central position. Mellberg adapted well to his new role but has since joined Juventus on a free transfer, emphasizing the need to bring in an orthodox right-back.
Young fits that description but any deal is likely to hinge not only on Boro’s willingness to sell but also Liverpool’s means of financing the purchase of Gareth Barry from Villa.
LiverpoolÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s BenÃƒÂtez was previously willing to offer Steve Finnan as a makeweight. Although Finnan would solve O’Neill’s right-back problem, it seems he would prefer straight cash for Barry.
VillaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s proposed acquisition of Young would create a huge problem for Southgate who has no obvious replacement for him in the reserves
[Source: The Guardian]
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