O'Neill - Status attracts stars

09 March 2009 03:12
Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill believes the club's emergence as a genuine force in the Premier League will aid his work in the transfer market.

O'Neill's side are currently battling to break the 'Big Four' monopoly of Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal as they search for a place in next season's UEFA Champions League.

And the Villa boss, who came in for recent criticism after naming a shadow squad for the Uefa Cup elimination at CSKA Moscow, feels he will be helped in his search for signings by Villa's new-and-improved status.

A paper-thin squad has shown signs of weariness as a winless run of six games in all competitions has reinforced O'Neill's repeated observations regarding a need to reinforce, but the Northern Irishman feels players will now see Villa Park as an attractive destination.

Opportunity"I'm hoping that whatever comes or goes this season that we can strengthen accordingly," he told the Birmingham Mail amidst rumours of summer moves for Newcastle's Michael Owen and Tottenham's David Bentley.

"A lot of players now would look at us in a greater light than they would have done a couple of seasons ago.

"I think they see that players here get the opportunity not just to go and play, but to have free rein to express themselves individually; the likes of Ashley Young, Gabby Agbonlahor, James Milner, Stiliyan Petrov - who has had a resurgence - and Gareth Barry.

"I don't think that going forward the players are inhibited in any sort of way.

"And the players who were looking at us maybe a couple of seasons ago would now look at us in a different light, because they see a club that is definitely improving. Whether we can continue the improvement is another issue."

Source: SKY_Sports