McLeish ready to steady Aston Villa ship with midfield enforcers

New Aston Villa manager Alex McLeish is preparing to add some steel to his midfield by investing a huge chunk of his given war chest on midfielders Joey Barton of Newcastle United and Blackpool’s Charlie Adam.

Barton has expressed his disbelief at the recent sale of team mate Kevin Nolan and feels it could be time for a change after a new contract was not offered to the England international. McLeish will face competition for Barton though with numerous newspapers claiming that Arsenal could be interested in the 28 year old.

The battle will not stop there with McLeish’s second midfield target, Charlie Adam, also the subject of a possible move to Kenny Dalglish’s new look Liverpool. Adam was instrumental for Blackpool last season but relegation for the Seasider’s has meant he and a number of other Blackpool players are seeking suitors within the Premiership for the new season.

It will take McLeish some good negotiating to land both after Aston Villa’s indifferent season under Gerard Houllier and also the probable loss of Ashley Young to Manchester United and possibly Stuart Downing to Liverpool. Should McLeish acquire both however it will add some metal to a side that looked to be missing much steel last season.

With Charlie Adam’s transfer value being quoted as something in the region of £10m-£12m and Barton apparently available for around £6m-£8m, McLeish will need to spend a good £16m of Randy Lerner’s money before fans may start believing that Villa are a top six side again.

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