Alex McLeish is planning a triple swoop in the January market to bolster his lack-lustre attacking options. Irish duo, Robbie Keane and Damien Duff have become the Aston Villa manager’s prime targets along with Tottenham’s want-away midfielder, Steven Pienaar.
McLeish has admitted he has limited funds at his disposal in the January window so loan moves and shrewd bargain basement signings are all the Scot has to go at unless he generates capital through player sales following Randy Lerner’s reported wish to make further cost cuts.
According to various reports in the English Press Aston Villa are hoping to iron out a deal with LA Galaxy to take striker Robbie Keane on a 2-month loan in a similar way Everton have with the 31 year-old’s US teammate Landon Donovan. The Irishman is currently training with former club Tottenham, in a bid to remain fit during the MLS close season but Villa’s interest would be more ideal for Keane. The striker is looking to stay sharp in the lead up to Ireland’s Euro 2012 Finals campaign by continuing to play before the start of the new MLS in March.
McLeish is a well-known admirer of Keane. The Villa boss attempted to sign the striker for £6m from Tottenham last season when he was in charge of Birmingham City but the deal collapsed after failing to agree personal terms.
Villa and the Galaxy have yet to agree an insurance deal for Keane’s services but the Irishman’s decision will surely be aided by his international teammates Shay Given and Richard Dunne already representing The Villans.
McLeish is also hoping to link up another of Keane’s international teammates at Villa Park. Fulham’s Damien Duff could be the subject of a £1.5m offer from the Villa boss, according to The Mirror. The 32 year-old’s position at Craven Cottage is said to be under threat following new boss, Martin Jol’s ambition to reduce the average age of the first-team squad. Duff signed a 1-year contract extension to his existing deal last August but has only made 9 league appearances this season for the south-west London club.
Another attacker with creative flair on McLeish’s radar is Tottenham midfielder Steven Pienaar. According to The Daily Mail, the 29 year-old has expressed a desire to leave in order to find first-team football elsewhere. Pienaar’s opportunities at Spurs have been limited since joining from Everton in a £3m deal last January making just 8 league appearances sparking interest from Villa, Sunderland and as his former club.
McLeish would prefer to bring in Pienaar on loan but Villa are already loaning Jermaine Jenas from Spurs. Premiership rules state that clubs cannot loan more than one player, from any one club, in a season. The Villa boss would somehow have to come up with the reported £4m asking price for the South African. Cash-strapped Everton would also prefer to bring back their former player on a loan deal, while Sunderland could easily stump up the asking price.
Capturing the likes of Keane, Duff and Pienaar in the January window could prove to be a shrewd bit of business by Alex McLeish as his Villa side look to resurrect a poor start to their 2011-2012 Premiership campaign.
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