Villa to raid Boro's defence

ASTON Villa could be launching a double raid on relegated Middlesbrough. (The Guardian)The Guardian reports that Martin O'Neill will try and sign Turkish midfielder Tuncay, as well as one of the defensive duo of David Wheater or Robert Huth.

ASTON Villa could be launching a double raid on relegated Middlesbrough. (The Guardian)

The Guardian reports that Martin O'Neill will try and sign Turkish midfielder Tuncay, as well as one of the defensive duo of David Wheater or Robert Huth.

Although Tuncay was their best player last season, Boro want to sell the Turkey international who does not relish the idea of playing Championship football.

O'Neill made an inquiry about Tuncay this summer but he is understood to not have followed up that initial interest after deciding that Boro's �8m asking price was a little steep.

Villa scouts watched Boro's 0-0 draw with Sheffield United at The Riverside last Friday night when they were understood to be monitoring Wheater and Huth, the central defenders who are deemed essential to the team's promotion bid by Southgate.

Even so, and despite the manager insisting “David Wheater is not for sale”, every player has his price and O'Neill is in urgent need of two central defenders.

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The Villa manager has just four fit defenders available to him, including Habib Beye, newly arrived from Newcastle. O'Neill, who appears to have failed in an attempt to prise Sylvain Distin - who could be heading to Sunderland - away from Portsmouth, has lost Martin Laursen to retirement and Zat Knight to Bolton this summer.

Wheater is thought to be particularly appealing as, being English, young and boasting plenty of potential, he fits the blueprint of the side being assembled at Villa Park.

Yet Huth, an injury-prone, German international who played for Chelsea between 2002 and 2006, could also prove a solution to something approaching a mini-defensive crisis.

“I'd love to be able to keep Huth for the season,” said Southgate. “I would rather not sell him if at all possible. He is a big part of our team. But there are things we have to do at this football club. I fully understand that.”

Boro are desperate to sell at least two players, ideally Tuncay and Afonso Alves, by the end of the month in order to finance moves for cheaper alternatives well suited to the Championship such as Derby County's Rob Hulse.

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