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Villa boss O'Neill happy rival clubs want his stars

Aston Villa boss Martin O'Neill is ready for new contract talks with his star England trio.

Gareth Barry, Ashley Young and Gabby Agbonlahor are all set for talks about new deals.

All three have been linked with big money moves in the media but O'Neill is completely unruffled by the speculation: "It is a bit of a compliment but more to the point I don't want to presume anything about somebody 'loving it here' until I actually sit down with him.

"By the same token, such speculation cannot be seen to have hastened things. That would be a sense that it was a reaction thing.

"That is football. People seem to know plenty about other people's business. Nothing surprises me.

"But we did say last week that we would be speaking to the people who I believe have done so well at this football club that they deserve their contracts to be looked at."

O'Neill says constant back-page speculation can be seen as a sign of how well the club are doing.

He told the Birmingham Mail: "If people say it is a back-handed compliment that the big clubs are bound to be interested in our players, then I will take it.

"Arsene Wenger was fulsome in his praise for Gabby Agbonlahor when Gabby played really brilliantly in the game at Arsenal.

"Then of course you are having to fend off (speculation) that Arsenal are after Agbonlahor - things like that.

"But I take the point. It is a compliment. How much there is in these particular things - one never knows. But I think we should take it as a compliment."

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Tribal Football Staff

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