Defoe 'in talks with Villa' says local source

January 17, 2008

Tottenham striker Jermain Defoe has held talks with Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill regarding a move to the midlands club according to the Birmingham Post.

The unsettled Defoe, who has been told by Spurs coach Juande Ramos that he is prepared to let him leave White Hart Lane, is reported to have spoken with O'Neill at Villa's Bodymoor Heath training ground on Wednesday.

O'Neill has been a long time admirer of the £10million rated England international and was linked with signing him during the summer.

A source told the Post: 'Jermain has been to talk to Villa. The problem now is negotiating a fee and that may prove to be the sticking point.'

O'Neill is keen to bolster his striking options with Luke Moore refusing a new contract, Marlon Harewood failing to make an impact and lingering doubts over John Carew's fitness.

It means much responsibility is on the shoulders of Gabriel Agbonlahor who has netted seven goals so far this season.

Defoe has a proven track record and is a natural predator inside the box and would help Villa sustain their push for a European spot.

He would fit O'Neill's criteria of signing young and hungry English players with something to prove as has been the case with the likes of Nigel Reo-Coker, Ashley Young and Curtis Davies.

Defoe would also know other members of the England squad such as Gareth Barry and Scott Carson in helping him to settle in new surroundings.

A Villa spokesman said he 'could neither confirm or deny' the speculation surrounding Defoe's possible move away from North London.