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Last Updated: Thursday, 4 December, 2003, 15:12 GMT
Balaban leaves Villa
Bosko Balaban in rare action for Aston Villa
Balaban only started two games for Villa
Aston Villa have parted company with Croatian striker Bosko Balaban.

Balaban, who cost Villa 5.8m when he signed on a five-year deal from Dynamo Zagreb in August 2001, still had two-and-a-half years of his contract left to run.

Balaban rarely played for Villa and did not start one Premiership match.

The club told the Stock Exchange they would be taking a big loss on the player, although by getting rid of Balaban now Villa added they would save themselves from losing a further 2m.

A Villa statement said: "Aston Villa will recognise, in the financial year ended 31 May 2004, a pre-tax player trading loss on the termination (after deduction of the unamortised costs) of 3.2m.

"However, Aston Villa will benefit from substantial savings in wages and future amortisation costs.

"In cash terms this represents a saving of 2m spread over the remaining term of the contract."

Villa are on a cost-cutting drive after revealing full-year pre-tax losses of 11.6m pounds in August.

During his time at the club Balaban made 11 appearances, with only two starts, and failed to score. He has not played for Villa this season.

The striker, who earned a reported 15,000-a-week, was loaned back to Zagreb for much of last season, with Villa paying the bulk of his wages.

Earlier this week, Balaban threatened to sit it out in the reserves if Villa did not come up with an acceptable deal to get him off the books.

"If Villa make a deal and it is good for Villa and good for me then I will go. If not, then I will stay," the 25-year-old said.

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