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Aston Villa get serious about Middlesbrough defender Wheater

Aston Villa intend to firm up their bid for Middlesbrough defender David Wheater.

The Daily Star says Villa boss Martin O'Neill, looking for a replacement to fill the void left by Martin Laursen's enforced retirement, has identified the Boro youngster as his top target.

O'Neill was hoping to set up an exchange using Marlon Harewood as a makeweight in the deal, but Boro have made it clear they are not interested in the striker.

Now he is weighing up an £8m bid for the England defender, who was forced to pull out of the European Under-21 Championships due to a knee injury.

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