Aston Villa's Craig Gardner set to leave club after FA Cup snub
This was exactly the sort of match the midfielder would have expected to feature in indeed, he played in all of Aston Villa's FA Cup matches last season and so his absence can be taken as a strong indicator that after five years at Villa Park, Gardner is set to move on. It is very possible that he won't have far to travel, however, for it is growing increasingly likely that Wolverhampton Wanderers or Birmingham City will bid for his services, and the smart money would be on the midfielder leaving this month. Related ArticlesAston Villa 3 Blackburn Rovers 1Premier League: transfer window guideAston Villa Transfer TalkJamie Carragher hails Villa winAston Villa 0 Liverpool 1Top four remains target for Rafael BenítezOf course, O'Neill would prefer that the England U21 international stay put, but the Villa manager is no fool and is aware that Gardner has become disillusioned. That O'Neill made no attempt to soothe the situation by giving Gardner a place on the substitutes bench tells its own story. The 23 year-old is contracted to the club until 2012, but O'Neill will let him leave in an appropriate offer, in the region of £3.5 million, is tabled. Wolves and Birmingham remain most likely, but O'Neill has revealed neither have made a firm approach as yet, even though he has been made aware of interest in the player. 'A number of clubs have enquired, but there's nothing definite,' he said. 'In an ideal world I'd like Craig to stay…but it might not be possible. I spoke to him before today, and he's not sure about things. He's a bit down. I don't know what might materialise.' He is as good as gone, then.
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