Sunderland set to poach Aston Villa for international defender
Martin O’Neill appears to be planning a January assault on his old club as he seeks to take James Collins to the Stadium of Light.
The Northern Irishman was at the helm of the Birmingham outfit when Collins completed his 2009 transfer to the club and is looking to sign him once again in an effort to bolster his defensive options.
Collins has made over 80 appearances for the Villans and formed a formidable centre-back partnership with Republic of Ireland international, Richard Dunne.
The defender has also been a consistent feature in the Welsh international set-up over recent years, earning 40 international caps since his debut in 2004.
The player, known by fans as ‘Ginge’, currently has 18 months left to run on his contract and would be expected to command an asking price of around £5m if he were to take a January switch.
Several of Villa’s stars are said to be considering their futures as a claret and blue after enduring rocky relationships with their last and current manager.
Gerard Houllier, who managed the side last season, is known to have rubbed some of the playing staff up the wrong way, with Collins and Dunne both publicly speaking about several rows between themselves and the managing team.
The vibe hasn’t got a whole lot better with Alex McCleish either, with numerous stories emerging of a rift between the Scot and several of his players.
As a result, O’Neill may be looking to take advantage of the unsavoury situation at the club and swiftly sign 28 year-old Collins this month.