Charlton chief executive admits not selling Dale Stephens to Aston Villa might have been a mistake

The Villans wanted the box-to-box midfielder back in 2012.

Back in August 2012 Aston Villa tried their utmost to bring in Dale Stephens from Charlton Athletic, as reported by Sky Sports.

The then 24-year-old midfielder had impressed since joining Charlton from Oldham Athletic and was one of Paul Lambert's main targets in his big Football League recruitment drive at Villa which saw the likes of Ashley Westwood, Matthew Lowton and Joe Bennett all arrive at the club - with varying degrees of success.

But Stephens was blocked the move by Charlton who wanted to keep the player out of Villa's clutches.

Now, Charlton chief executive Katrien Meire has admitted that might have been a mistake. She told the South London Press yesterday:

"As much as I want to keep the players - and I will really try - sometimes it does not work to stop them. You cannot frustrate a player too long.

"With Dale Stephens, his agent came to me and asked for a transfer after we had blocked it.

"He was angry we did not allow him to move to a bigger club."

In the end the Addicks had to relent and Stephens headed to Championship rivals Brighton and Hove Albion.

He is now a key member of their side as the Seagulls fight for promotion and his former club toil at the wrong end of the Championship table.

If he had been sold to Villa then he might not be playing for a team in the same league now, proving himself worthy of a potential Premier League dream.

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