Aston Villa are set to rebuff bids for in-demand duo Fabian Delph and Ron Vlaar in the winter transfer window, according to a report from the Telegraph.
The pair have both entered the final season of their respective contracts and talks have continued to stall, leading to widespread speculation that Villa could be forced to entertain offers rather than risk losing them for nothing in the summer.
Delph himself is reported to have told the club he has no plans to renew, despite being offered a fresh deal worth £50,000 per-week, and the likes of Everton, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur are all understood to be eager to acquire his signature.
The England international is not expected to return to action until late-December at the earliest, after undergoing an operation on a dislocated shoulder, with a club spokesman telling the newspaper: “The club has made a strong offer to Fabian to keep him at Villa beyond this season and our clear desire would be that he remains at the club.
“He and our medical team are working hard to expedite his return to action, ideally before the end of this year, so he can continue to contribute over the remainder of the season.”
Vlaar’s future, meanwhile, has been the subject of much speculation following his starring performances for Louis van Gaal’s Netherlands side at the World Cup, with the centre-back since linked to a host of top European teams.
The club somehow managed to hold onto their captain past the transfer deadline, but rumours of a potential reunion with Van Gaal at Manchester United continue to crop up, while Arsenal are also said to be among the interested parties.
With a fourth-consecutive relegation battle on the horizon if their current poor form continues, Villa’s chances of retaining their Premier League status would no doubt be boosted with their star men around for the duration of the season, but the situation remains a serious dilemma.
Along with Christian Benteke, Delph and Vlaar are manager Paul Lambert’s two most valuable assets, who could both fetch substantial returns in the transfer market, even with their expiring contracts.
Nevertheless, most fans would no doubt agree that the blow of relegation would be far greater than seeing both players depart for nothing after helping guide the team to top-flight safety.