Villa's £8m Young bid accepted but Spurs still in frame

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The Independent Online

Watford last night accepted a bid from Aston Villa ­ believed to be an initial £8 million ­ for striker Ashley Young. The 21-year-old has been given permission to talk to Martin O'Neill, whose Villa side host the Hornets tomorrow.

However, the England Under-21 international is believed to have set his heart on signing for Tottenham Hotspur, and Spurs may agree to Watford's request that he is allowed to remain with them until the end of the season. Although Spurs have not offered anywhere near the £9.65m package outlined by West Ham, they are confident the player wants to join them ahead of any other club.

Watford had hoped to secure a player-plus-cash deal from Spurs for Young with £3m plus either Wayne Routledge or Calum Davenport ­ or both ­ moving to Vicarage Road. The two players were not keen, however. Davenport has since signed for West Ham while Routledge wants a permanent move to Fulham ­ where he is on loan ­ or another established Premiership team.

Arsenal and Liverpool have also expressed interest in Young. Five bids of £5m were lodged but Watford wanted more. Eventually West Ham offered £8m in cash plus an additional £1.65m based on appearances and staying in the Premiership. They were astonished when Young turned down their offer.

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