Aston Villa boss Alex McLeish is already in talks with Manchester United over a deal for Wes Brown.

The People says Sir Alex Ferguson, Big Eck's former boss at Aberdeen, was a major supporter of his fellow Scot's move to Villa from Birmingham - and that friendship could help McLeish beat Sunderland to Brown's £4million signature.

Sunderland boss Steve Bruce wants to land John O'Shea and Darron Gibson with Brown in a £12m United treble, but Big Eck is likely to get Brown.

McLeish could be given a £35m war chest by owner Randy Lerner in a bid to revitalise Villa.

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