Hamburg court Villa striker Baros

July 4, 2006

Aston Villa striker Milan Baros could be on the move after just one season in the midlands having emerged as a leading target for Hamburg.

The German club are understood to be prepared to offer around £8million for Baros - £1 million more than Villa paid Liverpool last August.

Twenty-four-year-old Baros finished as Villa's leading scorer last season with 12 goals but was only a qualified success.

Villa manager David O'Leary had been hoping Baros would make a big impression at the World Cup to increase his value but the Czech international missed out through injury.

O'Leary has already been told by chairman Doug Ellis he will have to sell existing players if he wants to bring in new blood and Baros's departure should give him some much-needed financial clout.

Hamburg have not made any official contact with Villa, although they are hopeful of speaking to O'Leary soon to sound his exact position on Baros.

But, as an insurance against not being successful in landing Baros, Hamburg are also keeping tabs on Nuremberg striker Robert Vittek.

The 24-year-old Slovakian scored 16 goals in 30 appearances for his club last season.

O'Leary is looking to bring in a quality centre-half with Martin Laursen's long-term future not certain after his knee problem and a competitive midfielder to ease the strain on Gavin McCann and Steven Davis.

Ellis has made it clear he is looking for a vast improvement on last season when Villa flirted with the relegation zone for much of the time.