Wolves were today fighting to fend off moves from Villa and Everton to prise Kevin Doyle from Molineux, as midfielder Jamie O’Hara was ruled out for another two months.
The 28-year-old striker has been earmarked for a key role in this season’s Championship campaign – but the prospect of a Premier League move throws fresh doubt on his future.
Doyle was watched by both Villa boss Paul Lambert and Everton’s David Moyes in last week’s Championship match against Barnsley and his name was on the agenda for discussion when Lambert met his Villa Park chairman Randy Lerner for key talks.
Lambert is pressing Lerner for the release of more funds to strengthen his Villa squad after a worrying start to the season which has brought back-to-back defeats against West Ham and Everton.
Moyes has been a long-time admirer of the Ireland international and came within a whisker of buying the player in January. Now he is back for a fresh attempt which, like Villa, could be governed by price.
Neither club are in a position to splash huge cash but Wolves have Doyle locked up on contract and a £6.5m fee invested in his signature acquired three years ago.
He has also been one of the few established players at Wolves who has not actively pursued a move away this summer, instead making it clear he is content to stay and help new manager Stale Solbakken’s quest for promotion.
It comes in a week in which Wolves are trying to trim their numbers significantly with Stephen Hunt the latest player to be offered the chance to leave. Doyle’s Ireland team-mate, who has failed to figure this season, has met with Solbakken and been cleared to find himself a new club.
The O’Hara setback adds impetus to chief executive Jez Moxey’s continuing negotiations with St Etienne to clinch a deal for another Solbakken target, midfielder Bakary Sako. That is expected to go through by the end of this week.
Meanwhile Aston Villa were today frustrated in their attempts to sign £6m-rated striker Christian Benteke after their opening bid for the player was turned down by Genk.
The 21-year-old forward had been linked with Everton and Fulham, but Villa made the first move for the youngster who has scored three goals in five games in the Belgian league in this campaign so far.