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Last Updated: Tuesday, 27 November 2007, 16:42 GMT
Villa boss plans defender talks
Olof Mellberg and Martin Laursen
Olof Mellberg and Martin Laursen can leave for free in the summer
Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill wants to resolve the futures of Olof Mellberg and Martin Laursen, whose deals expire at the end of the season.

The defenders, both 30, can speak to other clubs in January and O'Neill is keen to agree new contracts with them.

The Villa boss told the club website: "I spoke to Martin and told him I'd be sitting down with his agent.

"I'd like to see Olof stay here longer, but when you get to a certain age, you maybe look at other things."

Mellberg who joined Villa from Spanish side Racing Santander for 5m in 2001, has been tipped by fellow Swede and Manchester City manager Sven-Goran Eriksson to join Serie A side Juventus on a Bosman free transfer in the summer.


O'Neill wants to keep the centre-back but will not stand in his way if he wants to leave.

"All I'd say is Olof's commitment to Villa over a number of years is beyond question and from that viewpoint, I'm relatively comfortable in terms of that," he explained.

"If Olof didn't sign by January and had nothing in the pipeline, I'd still be hoping we'd come to some sort of agreement."

After making just 28 appearances for the Villains in his first three seasons, Laursen appears to have put his injury troubles behind him and has been an ever-present in the Premier League this term.

However, O'Neill still has his concerns, adding: "Martin has come through a lot of games and feels much stronger, but I have certain things to look at, especially with players coming to 30 years of age," he said.

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