According to The Reading Chronicle, Aston Villa are among the sides interested in free agent Stephen Ireland this summer.
Aston Villa want to bring Ireland back to Villa Park this summer but face competition from Reading and Bolton Wanderers.
The 31-year-old is due to become a free agent at the end of this month when his contract with Stoke City expires and he is not set to be rewarded with a new deal.
Ireland played just four games for Stoke in 2017/18 as he suffered another injury ravaged season, but a trio of Championship clubs are ready to take a punt on him on a free transfer.
Aston Villa are seriously hit with financial restraints and they are being forced to sell a number of their star players to comply with Financial Fair Play regulations.
This could limit their summer spending to mainly free transfers and loan deals so Ireland is a target.
The 6-cap former Republic of Ireland international played for Villa between 2010 and 2014, making 57 appearances for the West Midlands club in total before his move to Stoke on a permanent transfer following a successful loan stint.
The former Manchester City academy product has options on the table ahead of the new season.
This latest piece of transfer news shows just how desperate Aston Villa are this summer.
Ireland’s injury record means that he would be a risky signing – even on a free – and he is not particularly young anymore.
If he stays fit all season, the Irishman would be a useful player to have in your Championship squad but his legs might be gone.
Aston Villa fans – Would you like to sign Ireland? Let us know below…